I’ve received several messages on FaceBook about the President deciding not to proclaim a National Day of Prayer in May. While that’s not true, he has chosen to issue the proclamation without hosting a ceremony in the White House.
However, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has taken stronger action. She has ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, pending appeal. My first reaction was outrage…until I read the judge’s comment:
“Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not
mean the government may enact a statute in support of it,
any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast
during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify
themselves in a sweat lodge, or practice rune magic.”
Judge Crabb’s quote caused me to wonder…how outraged would we be if the President issued a national proclamation for the practice of Islam or Wicca? Please don’t misunderstand—I’m not against the National Day of Prayer. It is a public reminder of our dependence on the Lord, the true source of our help and our freedoms.
Yes, “this country was built on Freedom & Prayer” (as the FaceBook message says). And yes, the United States was founded on Christian principles (despite some protestations to the contrary). And absolutely yes, our culture has become increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs and values, despite the fact that 76% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.
Still, many individual Christians live as if they are not accountable to the sovereign God who rules the universe. And elected officials who have appointed a judiciary that is dismantling our Christian heritage would not be in office if Christians hadn’t also voted for them.
Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Many believe that Judge Crabb’s ruling will be overturned on appeal. Even so, Christians do need to stand for the values that made our nation great, including voting for those who will uphold these values, regardless of political party affiliation.
But the answer to society’s ills will not be found in elected officials—Republican or Democrat. And the lack of an official proclamation for the National Day of Prayer does not forbid us to pray in our homes, churches, or even in Washington, whether today, the first Thursday in May, or any other day. How many of the 76% of Americans who profess to be Christian began today with prayer? How many will do so tomorrow?
What do you think?