Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 366 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

National Day Of Prayer Promotes Certain Literalist Christianity

Last year, under the direction of an act of Congress, Barack Obama issued a proclamation creating an official U.S. federal government religious holiday, the National Day of Prayer. In the proclamation, President Obama described this new religious holiday as an expression of a “spirit of unity”. Is it?

As Barack Obama is preparing to issue a new declaration supporting the National Day of Prayer, despite a U.S. District Court ruling that the government-created religious holiday is unconstitutional, it’s worth noting that increasing numbers of Americans reject religion. As of 2008, one quarter of Americans are non-Christian, and at least 15 percent of Americans live completely without religion of any kind.

That’s a fact worth noting given that the >largest organization promoting the National Day of Prayer is an exclusively Christian organization operated by the wife of right wing Christian preacher James Dobson. This organization, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, has gained almost complete control over the congressionally-established religious holiday, though the Task Force is not itself a government institution.

The huge majority of National Day of Prayer activities are organized and promoted through the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which has created a seven-point agenda for National Day of Prayer events that purposefully attempts to meld religion and government. The organization is exclusively Christian, but its religious agenda doesn’t end there.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force compels all its volunteers to sign a religious loyalty oath that binds them to allow only Christians to lead National Day of Prayer activities. That loyalty oath also requires volunteers to agree to a particular form of Christianity: A Christianity that declares that the Bible is literally true, without error, while other religions are false paths that cannot lead to salvation. This loyalty oath reads:

“I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God. I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, the atoning work of his shed blood, his resurrection and ascension, his intercession and his coming return to power and glory. I believe that those who follow Jesus are family and there should be unity among all who claim his name.”

Just in case there is any uncertainty about the exclusively Christian work of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, the Task Force also requires all of its volunteers to agree to the following statement:

“I agree to utilize and follow copyright usage of the NDP Task Force promotional materials to 1) perpetuate the annual theme and national media opportunities and 2) ensure a strong, consistent Christian message throughout the nation. I commit that NDP activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians while those with differing beliefs are welcome to attend.”

President Obama’s pledge of a religious holiday that will exhibit a “spirit of unity” has clearly not come to pass. The National Day of Prayer is being used to promote division and disrespect, even within Christianity.

In practice as well as in its original legal foundations, the National Day of Prayer is a clear example of the problems that result when the separation of Church and State is broken down by politicians like Barack Obama who seek to enhance their popularity with religious activists. The National Day of Prayer Task Force uses the power of the federal government to exclude and attack Americans that don’t share its narrow set of religious beliefs, violating the promise of our nation’s motto: E pluribus unum.

5 comments to National Day Of Prayer Promotes Certain Literalist Christianity

  • JM

    Could it be your guilt for your lack of any religious upbringing that makes you afraid of Christians celebrating “one” day of prayer. You think that this one day will infiltrate the government and “corrupt” everyone? How could it be any worse that it is? Our country and constitution were established by very religious Christian men and our generations has “voted” the very heart of man out of existence because a few might get their feelings hurt. Get some balls and go attend a National Day of Prayer event and see how non-threatening it can be. Maybe “you” are the one who’s supposed to create unity by attending. By the way, “…requires volunteers to agree to a particular form of Christianity: A Christianity that declares that the Bible is literally true”, duh, that’s what christianity is!!! Don’t discriminate against me because that’s what I believe.

    • Jim

      I see from your e-mail address that you’re a Christian Methodist Pastor. I won’t use any identifiers beyond that, but that’s useful to know. Some responses to your very interesting message.

      1. As you should know, Pastor, Christians don’t “celebrate one day of prayer.” Christians pray all the time, and have lots of holidays they set aside for praying in various ways, and nobody’s outlawed them or proposed outlawing them.
      2. How interesting that you think of the National Day of Prayer as a Christian event to have everyone pray. Thanks for agreeing on that.
      3. Also interesting: that you have equated masculinity with being Christian and castration with the lack of religion. I encourage you to explain this sexual fixation some more.
      4. Finally, as you really ought to know, Pastor, not every branch of Christianity considers the Bible to be a literally true document. Were you not aware of this, or do you like to make a practice of branding certain branches of Christianity as not really Christian? Is promoting this sort of ignorance or exclusion something you’d like to see your government take on as a task for you?

    • Kathleen

      You couldn’t have said it any better!! I’d like to know what all the non beleivers are afraid of. I think that may be what is driving them–fear.

      • Fear of a theocratic government of the sort that made people run from Europe to the Americas in search of freedom from government establishment of religion? You bet.

        If your religion really has a great big powerful supernatural deity on its side, why does it keep looking to the government for help?

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>