National Day Of Prayer Reminds Us Religious Liberty Still Must Be ProtectedMay 07, 2009
Today is the 58th annual National Day of Prayer. The theme for this year's observance is "Prayer: America's Hope" and the Scripture verse is:
"May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You." (Psalm 33:22)
We ask you to join with our nation and with The Family Foundation as we pray for God's grace and His healing of our land.
The National Day of Prayer has a storied history. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law a declaration that every president must proclaim a National Day of Prayer on the day of his choosing. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan codified the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer. Since then, Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have marked this day with a White House observance. All presidents have issued commemorative proclamations. For many years, a special prayer service has been held in the East Room.
Of course, now we are in a era of "change," the "Age of Obama." As this day approached, many pondered what, if anything, new or otherwise, the president might do. After all, he did state that America is "no longer a Christian nation" and his recent address at Georgetown University came with the insistence that it cover Jesus' name.
It turns out that President Obama, in lockstep with his previous hostile decisions, decided not to schedule a public ceremony in the White House, and may not send a representative to the National Day of Prayer Task Force event on Capitol Hill. Instead, he opted for a private proclamation signing. All are actions that indicate a desire to squelch the public expression of faith.
An Archbishop of Canterbury once said, "Lex orandi, lex credendi," which translates to, "the manner in which we pray shapes the manner in which we believe." President Obama's actions appear to show that he, unlike pro-family Virginians, does not respect the importance of prayer and belief. Given what we see from the White House, now more than ever, it's important that we protect our religious liberty.
However, we at The Family Foundation, continue to lead the battle in Virginia. In the past decade, we have championed several efforts on behalf of preserving religious liberty in the Commonwealth:
» A bill requiring that every school division conduct a moment of silence so each student can pray, meditate, or reflect (passed into law in 2000)
» A bill authorizing the posting of the national motto, "In God We Trust," in public buildings (passed into law in 2002)
» A bill requiring a higher legal standard for government to intrude on an individual's religious liberty (passed into law in 2007)
» A bill further protecting the rights of students in Virginia public schools to express their faith within classroom work (passed into law in 2008)
» A bill to restore the rights of state police chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus (passed the House in 2009, but failed in Senate Courts of Justice Committee)
At first sight, it seems the last bill is an anomaly. Not necessarily so. It can take one, two or several sessions to get a bill passed and signed into law. Religious liberty is fragile and in danger from intrusion, or neglect, by the state. So, we will continue to fight to protect our religious heritage, even during an era where, to some, not prayer, but the cult of personality is paramount.