Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

The National Day of (Conservative, Christian) Prayer

obama prayer proclamation.jpg

Conservative religious groups are criticizing President Obama for what the Associated Press called his “muted” observance of National Prayer Day. “At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer,” said Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of National Day of Prayer Task Force, which organizes the prayer day festivities. The Family Research Council said Obama’s decision to not have a big White House prayer event constituted a “de-emphasis on prayer.”I think this is actually a case of religious conservatives having cut off their noses to spite their faces. Putting aside for a moment the question of whether it’s appropriate for the White House to be involved in encouraging prayer, this particular occasion has evolved in a way that almost guaranteed its demise.The Bush White House had National Prayer Day run by a conservative, evangelistic Christian group. The mission statement on the Task Force’s website states that “in accordance with Biblical truth,” the Task Force seeks to, among other thing:• “Foster unity within the Christian Church”• “Publicize and preserve America’s Christian Heritage”• “Glorify the Lord in word and deed”The event became a showcase for religious conservative Christians to lead the nation in prayer. I think it’s wonderful that groups like this are encouraging prayer. I hope they organize millions to pray today and in the future. But for them to have an official or semi-official role is clearly against the spirit of the Constitution and insulting to all those non-Evangelicals who pray (not to mention those who don’t). As James Madison argued, politicizing prayer is a great way to turn people away not only from politics but prayer. I believe Obama had no choice but downplay any event led by this Task Force. Instead he issued a proclamation which will satisfy neither conservatives nor those who think the President should stay far away from religion: “I call upon Americans to pray in thanksgiving for our freedoms and blessings and to ask for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we love.” (The text of the full proclamation is here).Btw, here’s a video taken from a National Prayer Day celebration in Tacoma, Washington. It’s lovely, warm and very evangelical.First published on

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posted May 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm

The very idea of a “national” “day” of prayer is utterly retarded. Just like everything else they do.
I wish that they all would get raptured so that we would see a rise in the average I.Q. score.

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Charles Cosimano

posted May 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Let us fervently pray to the Almighty that he shall turn a deaf ear to their prayers.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 7:54 pm

GEE! I’d forgotten that I was supposed to be officially praying today! Oh well, there is always next year! :o)
Actually, why would any president need to be involved in any religious thing…GWB just went over board and was manipulated by the RR. Of course, he was manipulated by just about everyone…that’s what happens when you aren’t able to think for yourself.

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Rob the Rev

posted May 8, 2009 at 12:12 am

Steve, you’re kidding right, about that video clip?! What a bunch of nationalistic, fundagelical pietistic, self-righteious crap!

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New Age Cowboy

posted May 8, 2009 at 3:22 am

This Tacoma group had no prayers in their YOUTUBE video for the poor, the unemployed, the downtrodden. Evangelicals seem to just care a whole lot about military and authority figures, and married couples to boot.
I think my generation and the up-and-coming youth have caught on to this.
Maybe God will rapture all these self-righteous types away. One can only pray.

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posted May 8, 2009 at 8:18 am

People who take prayer seriously don’t need a right-wing-PAC nanny dictating to them when to pray and for what.

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posted May 8, 2009 at 9:23 am

“(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites 2 do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

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posted May 8, 2009 at 9:24 am

The National Day of (Conservative, Christian, WASP) Prayer

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Ted S.

posted May 8, 2009 at 9:26 am

I pray daily and attend church regularly. I do not believe it is appropriate for the White House to host the National Day of Prayer. That event is dominated by Evangelicals who are but one(flawed in my opinion)expression of Christianity. It also excludes Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Governmental entities should not be supporting religious expressions of this kind. Freedom of Religion means that groups can organize National Days of Prayer to their hearts’ content. Governmental approbation is neither necessary nor wise.

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essential light

posted May 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

A National Day of Prayer benefits us when it uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind.
Essential Light

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posted May 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm

There you go again, quoting that long-haired, sandal-wearing Jewish Rabi.
I mean, come on – he wasn’t even a gen-u-whine Christian, just the Son of God.
I mean, how, really – if God had meant for us to pray in silence, he wouldn’t have called for us to witness our Christianity by torturing people, bashing gays and raping the transgendered, now would he?
Of course not.
Nor would he have invented the TV for us to collect our money from the easily misled. They’d just to out and spend it on food and medicine, donating it to good works and the poor otherwise.
What were you thinking.

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posted May 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

“The Family Research Council said Obama’s decision to not have a big White House prayer event”
I see hootie1fan has already beat me to the admonition to “pray in your closet, in secret” verse. So could anyone tell me what, if any, actual “research” has ever been done by the “Family” “Research” Council? Certainly they don’t concern themselves with my family. They don’t/won’t even believe mine is a family.

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posted May 12, 2009 at 11:43 am

I was enjoying reieving the e-mail from this website for this past week. Until I just read this article and the comments. I’m a Catholic who shall mow request that no more e-mails be sent to me from this deceptive new-age religion website.

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