05/02/2004: A bad idea gets worse...
Americans United for Separation of Church and State issues an interesting, if scary, background paper on the National Day of Prayer:
Religious Right forces are using the National Day of Prayer as a vehicle to promote a controversial religious and political agenda, charges Americans United for Separation of Church and State.As if that isn't scary enough:
Congress by federal law has designated the first Thursday in May as an annual National Day of Prayer. (May 6 this year.)
In recent years, the event has been dominated by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a Religious Right group based in Colorado Springs. The task force is chaired by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson, and operates from the offices of Focus on the Family.
Dobson’s NDP Task Force sponsors thousands of prayer day events in congressional offices, at state capitols and other public buildings around the country. The Dobsons also visit the White House for a ceremony with President George W. Bush. The speakers and topics at Task Force events are chosen to promote the Religious Right’s “Christian nation” viewpoint.
This year’s NDP Task Force Honorary Chairman is Oliver North, a longtime Religious Right activist and former radio talk-show host known for his outspoken far-right views.Ollie is, of course, the noted convicted felon (his conviction was reversed on a technicality that did not rise to the level of exculpation, so we may take it as given that Ollie was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of which he was charged) who was a prime mover in the Reagan Administration's wonderful actions in selling arms to Iran in order to raise money which was then illegally given to the Contras. Frankly, I'd rather rub elbows with pimps, hookers, theives and drug dealers; they're more honest about their moral worth, or lack thereof.
Perhaps if the exercise were a bit more inclusive, it would be less objectionable (though by its very nature it's going to exclude the 15% or so of those who are not members of theistic religions), but it's clear that no Jews, Muslims or other non-Christians need apply:
The NDP Task Force website solicits volunteers to sponsor local events, but the application makes it clear that only certain Americans are welcome. Applicants must describe “My Personal Testimony (How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?)."How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?" The very wording of that question makes it questionable if Catholics, Orthodox, or other non-evangelicals are welcome
”They are required to list the “local church or fellowship” they attend, state how long they have been members and what ministries they have served in. In addition, local event coordinators must provide a “Christian reference” such as a pastor.
An official, government sponsored national day of prayer is a very bad idea. It's well overdue to be shitcanned.
Len on 05.02.04 @ 07:47 PM CST