National Day of Prayer

United States
November 4, 2007 1:10am CST
Does anyone else feel like there isn't room for you in America unless you were a fundamentalist Christian? During the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, President George Bush participated in the National Day of Prayer, which excluded Muslim-American clerics. James Dobson's wife Shirley, is chairperson of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. When asked why clergy outside of the "Judeo-Christian" clergy were not invited to attend and participate the annual event, the response wasn't very comforting. Vonette Bright, Shirley Dobson's predecessor, answered, "They are free to have their own national day of prayer if they want to. We are a Christian task force." Many seen this as saying, "They are Muslim. They can live in any Muslim country they want to, but not in ours." Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the National Day of Prayer supposed to be for ALL religions to participate in if they want to? Perhaps the other religions should have their own prayer days to counter the other day? I mean, somebody needs to show them that religious freedom can be recognized if the other religions want to do it. I think that is a pretty good idea actually. What do you think?
4 people like this
8 responses
@Riptide (2761)
• United States
4 Nov 07
But why include just muslims? How about buddhist,hindus,wiccans,pagans and whatever else there is. People forget there are more then just 2 religions in this world. And if muslims were only as tolerant and accepting of other religions as they expect people to be of them. If the national day of prayer was created by christians for christians,then let them have it.Why can't they have a day to themselves where they want to get together and pray? Would muslims allow a christian to join one of their gatherings and start praying in his way? I don't think so.
2 people like this
@AD11RGUY (1266)
• United States
4 Nov 07
The problem with letting the Christians have it, as is, is that it violates the Constitution. Since it is a "National" day, meaning honored by the government, whether officially or not, it has to include prayer - not just Christian prayer. Supporting only one religious form of prayer violates the rights of all Americans that are not of that religion, which by the way, includes atheists. However, your point about Muslims is right on the money. This is why government is not allowed to support any one religion. Can you see the fight that is brewing? Personally, I think religion should be kept amongst those of like mindedness and there should be no "National" day of anything religious.
1 person likes this
@Riptide (2761)
• United States
5 Nov 07
I just looked it up and yes, the National Day of prayer is a day where all faiths suppose to come together and pray in their own way. But the National Day of Prayer Task Force,that the OP is complaining about,is a non-governmental organization created by the National Prayer Committee to help coordinate events for evangelical Christians on the National Day of Prayer. Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, they work out of facilities from Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization. Shirley Dobson (wife of prominent evangelical and Focus on the Family founder, James Dobson) is currently at the head of the Task Force. The Task Force's charter is not tolerant of all religions since it does not allow members of all religions to participate equally. The Task force's website says in their FAQ section: "Americans of all faiths are encouraged to participate in the [National Day of Prayer] according to their own traditions. However, the [National Day of Prayer] Task Force [only] provides promotional materials and sponsors several events in keeping with the Judeo-Christian tradition". The application for volunteer coordinators with the Task Force lists the following as a primary qualification, "Commitment to Christ. A volunteer must be an evangelical Christian who has a personal relationship with Christ. I acknowledge that I am working for the Lord Jesus Christ and the furthering of His Work on earth and agree to perform my work with the highest standard of Christian faith."[1] According to wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Prayer Everybody has the right to observe that day as they wish and if they want to have a group that gets together and pray in only their faith, they have the right to do so.
1 person likes this
@AD11RGUY (1266)
• United States
5 Nov 07
Thanks for taking the time to clarify this, Riptide! Given that it is a private enterprise/organization, then yes, they have the right to exclude whomever they choose. But given that, I think they should change their title to "National Judeo-Christian Prayer Day". I know - long and wordy, but it gets to the point right away and isn't miss-leading. The way it is currently title lends to thinking that all are welcomed by them, which of course, is not the case.
@4ftfingers (1314)
4 Nov 07
Very good point made. It's estimated that there are about 15,000 Muslims serving in the US forces, although that may be a conservative estimate as a lot of them don't like to reveal their religion. Is it any wonder, when they are being discluded like that. Too many people, particularly the Christian fundamentalists, believe this war is mostly about religion. They need to be educated and understand the minor details of tollerance. Otherwise we will see in our western nations, the mass bigotry they have in other countries.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Nov 07
The only problem here is, the fundies take the Bible literally. Even when they are given pages and pages of scientific facts, or any other thing that isn't in the Bible, they call Satans' lies and throw it away (both literally and figuratively. They are not willing to research anything themselves and just follow their leaders blindly.
1 person likes this
@AD11RGUY (1266)
• United States
4 Nov 07
I do believe you are correct. To my knowledge there is nothing stating that the prayers must be of Judeo-Christian religion only. But let's be realistic here. Our nation has a very self-centered view of what religion is. The majority of the U.S. is Christian, therefore all statements regarding religion are referring of course to the Christian religion. Ever tried to compare Buddha with Christ with a Christian? I have. Though the two have such very similar teachings and good will to all people, somehow Buddha is not acceptable to the Christians I've talked to. So it's no surprise that NDP went down the way it did. Sad but true. So much for understanding the Constitution.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Nov 07
I know there are many Christians who think that Buddhist's lessons were good ones too. Of course, these type are seen as the "liberal" Christians according to the fundies. A lot of Christians are even angry with what the fundies are doing to their own religion. Thanks for the response!
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
4 Nov 07
It's sad that the more some people talk about our religious FREEDOM in American the more it's made clear that if you're not a Christian you're not "invited". I don't wish to take anyone's religious beliefs or lack thereof away from them, but why can't it be a private matter? When they talk of how prayer was taken out of the schools I say that's impossible; if I wish to pray I can pray, no matter when it is or where I am or who I'm with! These religious "leaders" such as the Dobson are the most divisive people there are, in my opinion. Annie
2 people like this
• United States
4 Nov 07
Alot of your posts tend to be complaining about stuff you know very little about. I for one am a strong atheist and support gay marriage but whining about "fundies" and gay rights is not going to help you any. It just shows how close-minded you are.
• United States
5 Nov 07
Thanks for the post. You see me as complaining an whining about "fundies", but that is not the point. Do you know the extent of what those fundies really plan on doing if they ever get into more positions of power within the government? I am trying to educate people in order for them to do their own research into the amount of power they already have. I mean, they have "secret" meetings (which the transcripts were able to be leaked into the media by an infiltrator) in a place in Colorado called Glen Eyrie, which is a castle in the Rocky Mountains. What was in those transcripts of the meeting was NOT good for homosexuals. But more importantly, not for any who do not fit into their definition of a Christian. I know not ALL Christians are like this, but it's that percentage of fundies who everybody, Christian and alike who need to keep an eye on.
1 person likes this
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
5 Nov 07
The National Day of Prayer was created by an act of Congress on April 17, 1952, during the Administration of President Truman. It was a day for all religions to clelbradt with prayer. The National Day of Prayer Task Force was formed to bring all Christian groups together to pray on the National Day of Prayer. During this time in our country there was very little cooperation or joint ventures. At this time there was almost no cooperation talking between the Major Religions. There is no reason why the other religions could not orginize a Nation Day of Prayer Celebration. It seem when you get seperate celebrations it is not long before they are joining together. I have not seen anything done by the other Religions, that doesn't mean that they aren't, in celebration of the National Day of Prayer. I would like to see all releigions join in one celebration and show unity against teh plagues of the world.
• United States
6 Nov 07
Yes, unity that goes against the plagues of the world is a really good way of putting it. I really enjoyed reading the post.
@reene0225 (352)
• United States
16 Apr 08
No where on earth does it say particular religions are only allowed to participate in the National Day of Prayer. After all it doesn't say National Day of Christian Prayer. So I don't understand how they can say Muslims or any other religions can't participate if they want to. It isn't religion specific. That's just absurd the way she said that. I don't think she meant to make it sound like she didn't want Muslims in the country. Just not at that particular event for some reason whatever it may be. I don't agree with the way she said it or how she went about handling it at all. I really don't agree with how they didn't invite people of other religions. It's just not right. For her to say We Are A Christian Task Force too. I understand that's what President Bush says but that is a whole other issue.
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
7 Nov 07
I was of the understanding that the National Day of Prayer was for all religions. Regardless, I'm of the belief that the NDP is unconstitutional and should be done away with. You can pray any day, why do you have to have a special day for it? The day itself may be for all religious faiths, the the "task force" associated with it is exclusive to Christians. It can be picky if it wishes to be.