Conservative religious groups are criticizing President Obama for what the Associated Press called his “muted” observance of National Prayer Day Thursday. “At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer,” said Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of National Day of Prayer Task Force, which organizes the prayer day festivities. The Family Research Council said Obama’s decision to not have a big White House prayer event constituted a “de-emphasis on prayer.”
Also a de-emphasis on silly walks.
I think this is actually a case of religious conservatives having cut off their noses to spite their faces. Putting aside for a moment the question of whether it’s appropriate for the White House to be involved in encouraging prayer, this particular occasion has evolved in a way that almost guaranteed its demise.
The Bush White House had National Prayer Day run by a conservative, evangelistic Christian group. The mission statement on the Task Force’s Web site states that “in accordance with Biblical truth,” the Task Force seeks to, among other things:
“Foster unity within the Christian Church”
“Publicize and preserve America’s Christian Heritage”
“Glorify the Lord in word and deed”
The event became a showcase for religious conservative Christians to lead the nation in prayer…
Eight years of public butt-kissing doesn’t make ritual and superstition automatically part of the Constitution.