Inclusive Prayer Day

People of Many Faith Traditions Calling For an Inclusive National Day of Prayer

Why we object to Franklin Graham's Islamophobia

Mikey Weinstein, The Washington Post, April 27, 2010

Let's just face it: Franklin Graham is an Islamophobe, an anti-Muslim bigot and an international representative of the scourge of fundamentalist Christian supremacy and exceptionalism. As a result, he fails in the worst way as a role model for Constitutional American citizenship. How can Graham or anyone prejudge/brand all members of a specific culture, religion and/or ethnicity? Such prejudice and racist cretinism is nothing new. It's as old as our species and has been the direct cause of the brutal end of untold multitudes of our species.

Graham has a history of describing the whole of the Islamic faith, and thus the whole of its Muslim practitioners, as "evil", violent", "false" and "wicked". I often wonder how painful it must be for U.S. citizens of the Muslim faith to hear Graham's universal, Father Coughlin-esque condemnations of Islam? Indeed, and how much worse still for the grieving families of recently fallen American servicemen of the Islamic faith like U.S. Army Corp. Kareem Khan, U.S. Army Spec. Rasheed Sahib, U.S. Army Maj. James Ahearn and U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan? Continue.

America's Founders on Prayer and the National Day of Prayer

Mark David Hall, The Christian Post, April 26, 2010

Since 1952, Congress has required the President to issue a proclamation designating "a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals" (emphasis added). On April 15, 2010, Federal District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb declared this requirement to be an unconstitutional "establishment of religion."

Crabb's decision is problematic even under the Supreme Court's muddled First Amendment jurisprudence, but her claim that America's founders had "intense debate[s]" about the "role that prayer should play in public life" is, if not simply false, profoundly misleading. Continue.

Let Us Pray -- With or Without a National Day of Prayer

Janet Haag, Huffington Post, April 26, 2010

In the midst of the controversy swirling around the National Day of Prayer, maybe we should all stop, take a deep breath and -- pray! We are at this moment caught up in whether or not it is constitutional for the government to proclaim a National Day of Prayer. I wonder if the more critical issue is whether or not we can find it within ourselves to pray together as a nation -- one whose citizenry is increasingly "of many faiths." For Aa day of prayer to be authentically deemed national, it should reflect the pluralism that now defines us.

As executive director of an organization dedicated to interfaith prayer for peace, I phoned the local organizing committee for the National Day of Prayer last spring. I was told that the planning retreat was for Christians only (I qualified -- at least I think I qualified), but when I asked how I could be helpful in engaging those from diverse faiths in the upcoming event, there was a brief but awkward silence. I was then cheerfully informed that everyone, even non-Christian groups, were welcome to pray on the capitol steps -- as long as it happened separately from and before the organizing committee held their event. After all, she said, they wanted to be "the clean-up hitters." Evangelical groups are being criticized for "hijacking" the National Day of Prayer, but perhaps the rest of us have allowed that to happen. It would be wonderful if the current controversy would prompt a national conversation challenging us to move beyond tolerance to respect for all religions and no religion. I believe our Constitution was formed on principles of freedom and respect for all. Continue.

Legal Skirmish Colors National Day Of Prayer

Adele Banks, Huffington Post, April 22, 2010

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Rep. Randy Forbes sees it, the decision by a Wisconsin federal judge that the law creating a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional is little more than one person's opinion.

Millions of Americans, Forbes said, think otherwise.

"That's not what the Constitution says," the Virginia Republican declared Wednesday (April 21), surrounded by other members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. "That's what one unelected judge says the Constitution says." Continue.

Pentagon disinvites evangelist who scorned Islam

Phil Stewart, Reuters, April 22, 2010

(Reuters) - The U.S. Army on Thursday withdrew an invitation to a Christian evangelist to speak at a Pentagon prayer service next month following an outcry over his references to Islam as a violent religion. Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, said in a statement he regretted the Army's decision and would keep praying for U.S. troops.

The invitation prompted a harsh reaction, including from a prominent U.S. Muslim group that said Graham's appearance before Pentagon personnel would send the wrong message as the United States fights wars in Muslim countries.

In an interview last year with CNN, Graham said "true Islam" was too violent to be practiced in the United States. "You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries," he said.

"I don't agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion."

The Army said it did not invite Graham to the May 6 event organized through the Pentagon Chaplain's office. The invitation was instead extended by the private, Colorado-based National Day of Prayer Task Force. Continue.

A day of prayer for judicial common sense

Jim Daly, Newsweek Opinion, April 21, 2010

The news came as a bit of a shock last week: According to a federal judge in Wisconsin, the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that a federal endorsement of the day somehow violates the "Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment.

To even the casual observer, Judge Crabbs's decision was a curious and perplexing one. After all, there have been federally recognized days of prayer in America for as long as there have been stars on the flag. In fact, to review the history of sanctioned and recognized prayer in the United States is to study the history of the country itself.

Dating back to 1775, the Continental Congress designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. President George Washington called for a "Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer" in 1795. President James Madison followed suit, as did President Abraham Lincoln during the darkest days of the Civil War. Continue.

National Day of Prayer ruling called 'egregious'

Erin Roach, Baptist Press, April 16, 2010

Madison, Wis. (BP)--A federal judge ruled April 15 that a statute that sets a day for the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, amounting to a governmental call for religious action.

The ruling, by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin, will not affect the 59th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, though, because the ruling will not take effect until all appeals are exhausted.

"This is an egregious and revealing decision," Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said. "It shows the brooding hostility toward religion that exists at some levels of federal, state and local government in this country. Continue.

Obama will still issue National Day of Prayer proclamation

Betty Klink, USA Today, April 16, 2010

The blogosphere and Facebook have been overwhelmed over the past 24 hours with rumors and accusations that President Obama has canceled the National Day of Prayer, scheduled for Thursday May 6. So, is it true?

No. The rumors arise out of Thursday's decision by Wisconsin U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. She ruled that it violates the First Amendment's ban against a law respecting an establishment of religion (full decision pdf).

The Obama administration has both tweeted and confirmed in an e-mail to the Associated Press from spokesman Matt Lehrich that Obama still plans to recognize The National Day of Prayer as it did last year. Continue.

Faith Leaders and Organizations Call for President Obama to Appeal Outrageous Federal Court Decision Banning the National Day of Prayer -- Monday News Conference in DC

News Release, Christian News Service, April l8, 2010

WASHINGTON, April 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- National prayer observances date back to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt with the National Day of Prayer beginning in 1952 by an act of Congress.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney and Rev. Rob Schenck will be holding a news conference to discuss their call for President Obama to take urgent action on the appeal and the steps they are putting in place for a national campaign.

The news conference will be on Monday, April 19, at 11:00 A.M., in front of the White House on the Pennsylvania Avenue side.

The appeal of this court decision would give President Obama a powerful opportunity to build a bridge to the faith community and demonstrate his commitment to religious liberty and freedom. Continue.