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Today is the 57th annual (US) National Day of Prayer. This morning President Obama signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.

Instead of formally praying in public following the proclamation (as Bush did), Obama cancelled the public prayer event and prayed privately instead. According to Religion News Service, one official explained it this way: “President Obama is a committed Christian and believes that we should be engaging Americans of faith in efforts to renew our country.”

Still, Focus on the Family and other Christian organizations are criticizing the president for cancelling the public prayer.

What is National Day of Prayer?
An annual event, the National Day of Prayer was signed into law by President Truman in 1952. Initially the organization and event were created as a way for members of the Christian and Jewish religions to express faith publicly and pray for the United States. Each year, like today, the president signs a proclamation encouraging such prayer.

So what’s the big deal?
Obama didn’t cancel/repeal the annual event. He just chose not to pray in public. Was his decision the right one, in lieu of diversity issues? Are there other factors at work (e.g., his previous controversy with the religious right and his choice of Rick Warren as the pastor to lead the post-inauguration prayer)? Should he have repealed the entire event? Should he have prayed publicly? What do you think?

Copyright 2009, Religion Transcends

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4 Responses to “Did Obama Miss National Day of Prayer Opportunity?”

  • Bob:

    As a Christian, I’m told to look for the fruit of a person claiming to be a Christian. Sadly, I see no fruit in President Obama that suports his claim. His unwillingness and lack of support for this day is yet another peace of missing fruit.

  • Frankie Rader:

    Reopublican’s and the Christian wing of the Republican Party including James and Shirley Dobson have tried to Hijack Religion.
    You cannont mandate Religion.
    Everyone practices their own Religion in their own way.
    Obama did not Cancel the day of Prayer, he chose not to pray in Public. The Bible does say go into your closet to Pray.
    Just who do the Republicans think they are…Do they think God favors them?

  • I can not believe that the condition our country is in that he decides not to join the public in prayer…Why…too personal? Prayer for our country needs to be shared..We need to see our President holding Prayer and encouraging Prayer as a group as well as Private…Public prayer gives us the opportunity to lean on each others faith and strength to join as one in Gods name…Obama is not letting us share with him…He is breaking a tradition…Is he embarrassed to pray before our country? Why? Well others are more fired up due to his backing down showing us he does not appreciate or share prayer for our country as a group …He needs to support us and we NEED A PRESIDENT WHO SHARES IN OUR GOALS, WORRIES, FAITH, UPS AND DOWNS..WE NEED HIS ENCOURAGEMENT AS A CHRISTIAN NATION…SORRY HE DOES NOT HAVE THE STRENGTH WE NEED. Glad when his 4 yrs is up..we need a president to share in our lives..not turn…away….We are a Christian Nation even if he does not think so.

  • LOrna:

    As a committed Christian his policies and beliefs should be in line with the Bible. Since they are not, I cannot see him as a “committed Christian” regardless of what he calls himself. The National Day of prayer is NOT a Christian event. Christians should treat every day as a day of prayer. His bowing out of a public prayer event as a singular event means nothing, but, as an indicator of the quality of Mr. Obama’s faith, it sounds loudly.

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