Thursday, May 06, 2010

Barack Obama's 2010 National Day of Prayer Proclamation

Since today is the National Day of Prayer, an observance that has been held annually since 1952, when Harry Truman issued the first proclamation, I thought it appropriate to share Barack Obama's proclamation issued on April 30th.  It is important to note that the President has not canceled the National Day of Prayer as some emails have suggested.  How he personally observes it is up to him, but he has issued an encouragement to prayer, not that we should need such a thing!  

As for me, I'll be participating in the Troy Interfaith Group service at First Presbyterian Church of Troy.  This service will include Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha'i, Catholic, Protestant, Jain, and Muslim participants (and I've probably left out some).  This variety represents the variety that is in Troy, MI.  Now there is another observance, to be held on City Property, that is Christian focused.  I find it ironic that this is the case, but such is the realities of times such as these.

It is, however, important to note that in issuing this proclamation, the President -- unlike some prayer organizers -- recognizes the religious pluralism of the nation.  Note this emphasis:

I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God's continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.

I believe this is the proper focus of such a proclamation of the President of all the people, not just Christian people.


Presidential Proclamation--National Day of Prayer

April 30, 2010

Throughout our history, whether in times of great joy and thanksgiving, or in times of great challenge and uncertainty, Americans have turned to prayer. In prayer, we have expressed gratitude and humility, sought guidance and forgiveness, and received inspiration and assistance, both in good times and in bad.

On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation. Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences. Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation.

Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere, and the people from those countries and from around the world who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to render aid. Let us pray for the families of the West Virginia miners, and the people of Poland who so recently and unexpectedly lost many of their beloved leaders. Let us pray for the safety and success of those who have left home to serve in our Armed Forces, putting their lives at risk in order to make the world a safer place. As we remember them, let us not forget their families and the substantial sacrifices that they make every day. Let us remember the unsung heroes who struggle to build their communities, raise their families, and help their neighbors, for they are the wellspring of our greatness. Finally, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those people everywhere who join us in the aspiration for a world that is just, peaceful, free, and respectful of the dignity of every human being.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2010, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God's continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.



Gary said...

Anything that is interfaith is harmful. It is an attempt to bring Christianity down to the level of false religions. I would never participate in prayer that was not entirely Christian.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Gary, that is your right -- but an observance that is government sponsored can't favor one religion over another.

Gary said...


Government used to favor Christianity for most of our history as a country. The fact that it cannot do that now demonstrates how far we have fallen as a country. And that is why I no longer favor the government's involvement.

America is finished. Our future is very bleak. And one of the primary reasons is our insulting God with "interfaith" activities. God does not tolerate rivals.

Glenn said...

China's seems to be doing great. I guess that would make God a big supporter of the buddhist/taoist/atheist interfaith coalition.

David Mc said...

This "constitutional lawyer" should have taken the opportunity to remind America and the world we are free nation and we should not governmentally support religion at the expense of non-religion. He should know better. This is all politics. He could share his faith and set an example by simply choosing a church to join and praying there. There are plenty of examples of theocratic countries gone bad. By the way, is the UK a Druid country? Weren't the founders Druids?

Anonymous said...

The United States of American was founded upon, and as the history of our Founding Fathers have shown with word and deed, Christian principles. Ignorance of history serves no place in anyone's mind, and that is what I see from many of this country's population. Jesus Christ loves you and me, but the further away we have gotten from Him, the further He has withdrawn from our nation. <><

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Anonymous --

Just a reminder that not all the Founders did was in line with the message of Jesus.

Remember that many of the Founders were slave owners. Women were denied the right to vote, etc.

And, a look at history will let you know that the nation's founders looked more to the principles of the Enlightenment than to the Bible. Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and many others were by no means evangelical Christians.

Doug said...

I certainly agree that the President is the leader of all Americans, not just Christians. I don't want a state sponsored religion, so I do find his comments appropriate from a strictly Constitutional standpoint. However, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't he absent from participating in NDOP observances? So why is the White House hosting a dinner commemorating the start of Ramadan--a strictly religious Muslim practice. If he chooses not to observe the one to not offend, then he should be consistent and not observe all!

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


The problem with the National Day of Prayer observances is that they have been taken over by the religious right. So, how do you host a National Day of Prayer event or participate in one that is inclusive when one group has cornered the market.

As for the celebration of Ramadan, Obama has celebrated Christian holidays as well -- as far as I remember!

bowcalgal said...

Thanks Pastor Bob for reminding people that this national was based on FREEDOM OF RELIGION and that most of our founding fathers were Masons. It seems that they think if they say something over and over it makes it true. PLEASE HEAR THIS - This national was based on freedom of religion - all religions.