NOTE: This article was originally published on May 4, 2011, by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty on its Web site.
Congress’ official designation and the president’s proclamation of a National Day of Prayer is misguided and unnecessary, says a Washington, D.C.-based church-state organization. A recent court decision said the law calling for the day of prayer cannot be challenged in court, but an official religious declaration by the government is still “unwise,” according to the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
“The government shouldn’t be in the business of telling the American people what, where or when to pray or even if they should pray,” said J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee.
In the proclamation designating May 5 as this year’s National Day of Prayer, President Barack Obama stated, “I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith or conscience directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I ask all people of faith to join me in asking God for guidance, mercy, and protection for our Nation.” The proclamation also said, “let us ask God for the sustenance and guidance for all of us to meet the great challenges we face as a Nation.”
“There is nothing wrong with the American people getting together to pray on a designated day, even public officials,” Walker said. “In fact every day should be a day of national prayer.”
“The problem with the National Day of Prayer is that it is an . . .”
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