I am truly disappointed in President Barack Obama.
Just 3 weeks shy of the National Day of Prayer, set for the first Thursday in May each year, rumors circulated that Obama had decided he didn’t want to “offend anyone,” so he canceled it. He didn’t cancel the National Day of Prayer, and was expected to sign a proclamation to uphold the tradition. He did, however, cancel the White House service in observance of the day.
That action offends me. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. How dare he take such action at a time when our nation most needs prayer? According to CNN, “prayer is something the president does every day.” Then shouldn’t he take the time on the National Day of Prayer to set the example for all Americans?
This action won’t stop those of us who wish to pray. It’s the idea of it. Our president is more worried about appearances than the spiritual welfare of this nation.
Just so you know, we have a long and rich history in this nation of setting aside time for prayer. The first day of prayer was declared when the Continental Congress designated a time of prayer for forming this country in 1775. George Washington declared in 1795 a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and James Madison proclaimed a national day of prayer in 1813. He later “Obama-ed,” and said his proclamation wasn’t appropriate, saying it implied an inclincation toward a national religion. Thomas Jefferson agreed.
But Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressonal resolution in 1863, calling for a national day of fasting and prayer during the Civil War.
And in 1952, a bill proclaiming an annual National Day of Prayer was unanimously passed by both houses of Congress. President Truman signed it into law. In 1988, a bill was introduced in Congress that fixed the National Day of Prayer as the first thursday in May. It was widely supported, and was signed into law May 5, 1988.
President Bill Clinton said in 1993, that "Through prayer our people take a moment away from the concerns of everyday life to understand the greater power that gives us guidance. We come together in an act common to all religions."
Obama understood that in January when he allowed Muslims to pray at the nation’s Capitol in January. He must have suffered some memory loss since then.
I understand that not everyone celebrates religious practices. That’s quite evident. I understand the idea of separation of church and state. I get it.
But show me one person who has ever been hurt by prayer – whether by engaging in the act themselves or by being the object of someone else’s prayers – and I’ll support Obama’s decision.
Even though I’m disappointed and angered by his decision, it saddens me to think that the first black president of the United States, who has made history more than once since he took office, will now be known for turning his back on the very tenets of what this nation was founded on.
And at this time in our history, can we truly afford to not be one nation under God? I think not.
E-mail your comments and suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.