Thursday, May 03, 2012

National Day of Prayer: Hidden Faith, or Public?

As President Obama proclaims the annual prayer observance, calling it freedom "to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience," do Christian Americans still enjoy the original intent of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

For background, read Bishops Throw Down Gauntlet: Obama War on Christianity and also read Most Americans Oppose Obama's War on Christianity as well as Supreme Court Says No Crosses; Arlington Neither?

In addition, read Atheists Lose: 'Day of Prayer' Ruled Constitutional

UPDATE 1/17/13: Obama Redefines 1st Amendment Freedom of Religion

UPDATE 9/17/12: Religious Liberty & Anti-Christian Totalitarianism

-- From "Obama on The National Day of Prayer: ‘Let us be humble in our convictions’" by On Faith, Washington Post 5/3/12

As is customary, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring May 3, 2012, this year’s National Day of Prayer. [Excerpts:]
Prayer has always been a part of the American story . . .

On this National Day of Prayer, we give thanks for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation, particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.
Despite the government’s endorsement of the holiday, for years the National Day of Prayer has been criticized, largely by secular activists, as a violation of the principle of the separation of church and state.

This year, secular advocates are holding a counter-event, calling May 3rd the National Day of Reason.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Religious freedom expert faults Obama’s prayer proclamation" by Michelle Bauman, Catholic News Agency 5/4/12

Since 1952, every U.S. president has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation calling on Americans to give thanks for their blessings and seek divine guidance for the future.

. . . the Obama administration is failing to respect the right to religious freedom, treating it as though it is merely a right to worship, but not to live out one’s beliefs.

[General counsel for the non-profit legal group Advocates for Faith and Freedom, Robert] Tyler explained that the American founders “absolutely” intended for the First Amendment’s religion freedom protections to apply to actions as well as beliefs. This view was carried down throughout most of America’s history, he said.

However, in 1990, the Supreme Court held in Employment Division v. Smith that laws which burden religion are acceptable as long as they are “neutral and generally applicable,” he said.

This ruling “has created quite a problem for the free exercise of religion in America today,” explained Tyler, observing that it has led to the idea that religious freedom merely means “believing whatever you want to believe” and does not extend to cover conduct.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "National Day of Prayer Coincides With 50th Anniversary of Ban on School Prayer" by Luiza Oleszczuk, Christian Post Reporter 5/2/12

As Americans prepare to observe the 61st annual National Day of Prayer this week, the usual debate over interpretation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, specifically the Establishment Clause, also takes center stage. But this year is special, according to some, because the May 3 observance also marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision that invalidated official prayer in public schools.

. . . this year's National Day of Prayer will reopen the debate on the Establishment Clause, which says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." In response to the annual day of prayer, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a secular advocacy group with some 18,000 members, has launched an "Ask Obama to end National Day of Prayer" petition. The group insists the nationwide observance is unconstitutional.

Especially conservative Christians see attacks on the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer as attacks on the freedom of worship.

[The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF)] Christian advocacy organization believes that "as in George Washington's very first address as president, so indeed the first every address by any president to this nation, he called this nation to a day of prayer. The call to prayer has continued throughout our history, including President Lincoln's proclamation of a day of 'humiliation, fasting, and prayer' in 1863."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Prayer Essential to Save America as well as Congressman: Prayer Needed to Solve America's Problems

Click headlines below to read previous articles on prayer and religious liberty in America:

Teacher Suspended for Christian Beliefs at Home

Students Suspended for Appearance of Silent Prayer

Pastors Booted from NYC Schools, then Arrested

Voluntary Praying at Food Pantry Verboten by Law?

Wisconsin County Yields Prayer to Atheist Threat

School Fights ACLU's Demand Against Prayer, but Loses Fight

Tennessee Teachers' Bowing Heads Verboten

Tennessee Teachers Forbidden Private Christian Lives

Tennessee Struggles for Freedom of Religion - Bullying

Tennessee Law Lets Teachers Pray with Students

School Prayer Amendment Passes in Missouri

Legislators Put Prayer Back in Florida Schools

Principal Upholds 1st Amendment, Atheists Challenge

Virginia County Ignores ACLU Threat over Prayer

North Carolina County Challenges ACLU over Prayer Threat

County Prays in Jesus' Name Despite ACLU Threat

Florida Citizens Defy ACLU by Praying at School

Prayer at Florida County Meetings Will Continue