According to one Associated Press report, evangelist Franklin Graham–son of Billy Graham–was invited to speak at the National Day of Prayer gathering at the Pentegon next month. But some people are crying foul saying that he should be uninvited due to his previous public comments of Islam being “a very evil and wicked religion.”
Opponents worry about the effect that his appearence might have on relations between Christian and Muslim members of our military. This situation has also brought to the public’s attention the question of whether the National Day of Prayer was meant to include all faiths in this country or not. The answer, is yes.
The National Day of Prayer was started as a joint resolution of US Congress in 1952 and subsequently signed into law by President Truman. Its original intent was to include Americans of all faiths. Prior to this, specific days were declared as national times of prayer, even as early as 1775, but no designated, lawful annual observance until 1952.
It was not until later in 1972 that the National Prayer Committee was formed, an evangelical organization from which the National Day of Prayer Task Force was wrought. This private organization has become the public face of the National Day of Prayer, but it is not all encompassing of the National Day of Prayer as it was drafted by US Congress. Many feel that the National Day of Prayer was hijacked from Americans of other faiths. There is a somewhat nebulous explanation of the task force’s views on their website and reads as follows:
“People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based.”
So we must, therefore, recognize a distinct difference between the scope and purpose of the actual National Day of Prayer and the workings of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. One is an annual observance inviting people of all faiths to participate with equal standing as Americans, and the other is a politically conservative, private organization that seeks to ensure that the National Day of Prayer be regarded as being strictly of Judeo-Christian importance.
National Day of Prayer vs. National Day of Prayer Task Force…they are not the same.
I am a Christian and I support the National Day of Prayer as a national event and I believe it to be a significant and moving expression of faith. However, though I risk the ire of some of my fellow Christians, if we are being honest, then we must acknowedge its original design as a multi-cultural, interfaith observance, not a strictly Evangelical Christian event that marginally tolerates the presence of others.
What do you think?Is the National Day of Prayer a strictly Christian observance?customer surveys