National Day of Prayer 2010 canceled is a right wing rumor

Friday, November 16th, 2012 By

President Obama, sans tie, speaking in front of a large American flag

National Prayer Day 2010 cancellation was a rumor spread by right wing evangelists after President Obama chose not to hold a public ceremony in the White House. Fllickr photo.

National day of prayer 2010 is Thursday, May 6, whether you like it or not. National Day of Prayer, a mixture of politics and religion one would expect more from a country like Iran than the United States, is true to form as it unfolds in 2010. Unlike his predecessor, The Decider, President Obama decided to observe the U.S. Constitution by not holding a National Day of Prayer event at the White House. Instead, forced to abide by a federal law signed in 1952, Obama issued a National Day of Prayer Proclamation affirming that May 6 was indeed National Day of Prayer 2010.

National Day of Prayer 2010 not canceled

Religious extremists and their right-wing Republican lapdogs, not satisfied by a mere National Day of Prayer Proclamation — and smelling a political opportunity — went viral like a no fax cash advance with the lie that Obama had dared to offend God, and National Prayer Day 2010 was canceled.

About.com’s Urban Legends department offers an e-mail example that started circulating in March about Obama’s National Day of Prayer policy. Part of the text reads “The direction this country is headed should strike fear in the heart of every Christian.”

National Day of Prayer theocracy

The National Day of Prayer canceled rumor was trotted out for the first time last year by Obama’s theocratic opponents. For some Republicans, any lie, even if it’s an old lie, is worth circulating if it inflames their right-wing religious base. As this is America, and not Iran, people can choose to ignore the occasion. However, the theocratic wing of the Republican party, in an effort to “shove this down our throats,” to co-opt one of their favorite catch phrases, has formed the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which formed a National Day of Prayer Committee.

National Day of Prayer history

Throughout National Day of Prayer history, the law has been a blatant violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment includes the “Establishment Clause,” stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The establishment clause was written to prohibit the government from establishing a national religion or prefer one religion over another. Despite this bit of wisdom from the Founding Fathers, President Harry Truman was badgered by evangelists to sign a bill requiring subsequent Presidents to proclaim a National Day of Prayer. America has been stuck with it ever since.

National Day of Prayer lawsuit

National Day of Prayer was ruled unconstitutional last month on April 15 by a federal court judge in Madison Wisconsin. On October 3, 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued President George W. Bush, the National Day of Prayer Task Force and White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, challenging the federal law designating the National Day of Prayer. Obama, ever the political animal when it comes to votes, asked U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to dismiss the case in March 2009. A year later, Crabb said  the federal law designating the National Day of Prayer would allow the government to have unrestrained authority to declare a “National Day of Anti-Semitism” or even declare Christianity the official religion of the United States, and no one would have the right to sue.

America is still stuck with the National Day of Prayer, and the theocratic extremists it brings out of the woodwork like the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Jim Dobson and Franklin Graham. But many would like to declare National Day of Prayer history. Thank God for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

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This post has 4 comments

  1. George Wade says:

    The Freedom from Religon Foundation, in its disdain driven fervor for all things religious, should note that the National Day of Prayer does not establish a religion. Rather, it merely sets aside a day to recognize a power greater than ourselves. What that "power" represents is defined by the individual, i.e., God or non-God (self?). What these people apparently don't realize is that their life beliefs constitute a "religion" as defined by Daniel Webster, i.e., "A cause, a principle, or an activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion." Likewise, this groups "fervent request" itself constitutes a "prayer", per Daniel Webster.

    America was unequivocally established as a Judeo-Christian nation. The Declaration of Independence, in establishing our national status, clearly recognizes the importance of our Creator in granting freedom to all mankind. As such, the Declaration absolutely de-legitimizes any effort by any governmental body to deny any individual freedom of faith (or non-faith). Lacking such declaration would imply that our "rights" are not inalienable, but defined by the "state."

    While our Pledge of Allegiance (to the United States of America) does state that "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, one nation under God…," there is no definition of who "God" is. While Jehova is clearly the God implied, I would take no offense if an individual of a non-Judeo-Christan faith would, in their mind, be referring to the god of their faith. As for those of "no religious faith" (although their "religion" is in fact themselves…see above), I see no offense in their omitting the phrase "…under God…."

    Finally, it is clear that among the nations of the world, those that are predominantly Judeo-Christian, are also among the most prosperous in the world. Biblical (and archaelogical) history records the dilemnas that befell the Jews (out of which Christianity arose) every time they departed from the precepts of their Jehovah-based religion. Likewise, throughout history, when holding to the precepts and practice of their religion, they prospered, even when the odds stacked against them were enormous. That same history is seen in the Jewish Holocaust as well as the modern Israel of today.

    GWade, MD (ret.)/PhD/Hematopathology Fellow

    Massachusetts

    • Peter Stone says:

      Um, George – I hate to break this to you, and it breaks my heart to have to do this, but the Declaration carries no force of law – it's a fantastic mission statement of sorts, a declaration of purpose, but the legal establishment of the USA is the Constitution. The Declaration is not binding – in any way, shape, or form. Furthermore, rights being dictated by law, rather than anything else, is for one, the way it works, and for two, part of a legal history that predates Christianity, and in fact predates Judaism.

      And as to "unequivocally a Judeo/Christian Nation" – well…a lot of people tend to skip doing their homework. Not many people actually get this memo BUT…

      First, the Establishment Clause. "Congress shall make no law…respecting an Establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That means that at minimum, our Government (meaning our nation in an official capacity) has to stay out of it publicly. Most people know about that, but don't know about:

      The Treaty of Tripoli. A treaty, signed by President Adams (the elder Adams), said that "As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion…" – that's a statement, in writing, carrying legal authority, by the President of the United States himself, declaring the US Government out of the religious business.

      And third, we get to Lemon v. Kurtzman. Granted, as far as Supreme Court decisions go, this one is about as controversial as Roe v. Wade. That said, it's just as legally valid as Roe v. Wade. (And both of them are.) It established what's called the Lemon Test, and from the decision itself:

      "1. The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose.

      2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion

      3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" in religion."

      The National Day of Prayer – well, prayer only happens in regards to things religious. Prayer is a religious exercise; the two are not and cannot be mutually exclusive. Thus, there is a legal basis to the Freedom From Religion's claim that there shouldn't be a National Day of Prayer.

      Furthermore, the most "prosperous nations on Earth are predominantly Judeo Christian." It's an incredible stretch to even correlate the OECD countries with their religious observances. (And what about Japan? Or the modern phenomena of China?) The most prosperous nations on earth only became so as a result of a plethora of different factors. The multitude of falsehoods contained in that statement are staggering. I don't know who gave you a PhD, but it obviously wasn't in history.

      • Steven Tarlow says:

        Well said, Stone.

      • John Jones says:

        To heck with all that history garble. If the government isn’t suppose to get into the religion act, of what is and is not appropriate; Why did Obama cancel National Prayer Day in the White House,THEN, turn right around and have 50,000 Muslims praying on Capitol Hill right BESIDE the White House? Not to mention the fact that he prayed WITH THEM! Obama IS a Muslim and he don’t give one twit about our Christian beliefs. The Muslims believe that if they can’t convert us, we should be annihilated. That means KILLED for you educated people. I don’t give a darn about all that history crap. What Obama did was a HUGE slap in the faces of all the other religions. Stick that in your Harvard Pipe and smoke it.

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