Judicial Activism On Display; What’s Next To Go… Christmas?

On Thursday, April 15, 2010, federal judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin ruled that a federal statute setting the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.  The National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDPTF) and Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) are urging President Obama to appeal this terrible court ruling and defend this long-standing tradition on behalf the American people.  The court order will not go into effect unless the decision still stands after all appeals are exhausted in the case.  Although this is a grave threat to the future of the National Day of Prayer, it does NOT cancel the 59th annual observance on May 6th, where millions of Americans will unite in prayer at tens of thousands of events across the country.

Shirley Dobson, Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and wife of Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James Dobson, said “Since the days of our Founding Fathers, the government has protected and encouraged public prayer and other expressions of dependence on the Almighty.  This is a concerted effort by a small but determined number of people who have tried to prohibit all references to the Creator in the public square, whether it be the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the simple act of corporate prayer – this is unconscionable for a free society.”

The National Day of Prayer is celebrated in the United States every year on the first Thursday of May, and it is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, designated times of corporate prayer have been integral to America’s history.  For example, President Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863 at a critical point during the Civil War.

In 1952, a joint resolution of Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer.  In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting aside the first Thursday of every May for the observance.  Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.  Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.

While there will be tens of thousands of prayer gatherings throughout the nation and millions praying on May 6th this year, it is still unclear whether there will be a White House observance for the National Day of Prayer.  Such events were held during the administrations of President George W. Bush, President George H. W. Bush, and President Ronald Reagan.  However, there was no such gathering at the White House in 2009.  President Obama is expected to sign a proclamation for the 59th Annual Observance on May 6, 2010, per the requirement of public law 100-307 and public law 105-225.

Representatives from the White House have been invited to take part in the National Observance taking place on Capitol Hill.  Whether or not they participate, events will proceed as planned across the nation as citizens unite in prayer for such a time as this.

To join the effort to “Save the National Day of Prayer” and sign the official petition, visit www.NationalDayofPrayer.org 

You can read the ruling in it’s entirety here

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About Jim

I'm currently the Communications Director for Missouri Operation for Vigorous Evangelism [MOVE] A Church planting ministry located in Jefferson City, MO. I believe that the church is the primary means through which God works in a community to love and redeem it. Here at MOVE we’re discovering new ways to be used for this purpose as God leads us and lights His path for us. As God forms this organization and shapes it for a new kind of world I want to be right in the middle of what He’s doing, traveling on this road of a disciple’s journey.

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