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May 07, 2009

Presidential No-Show

Obama2 I am disappointed that our president has chosen only to issue a paper rather than attending prayer services today, the National Day of Prayer. T. M. Moore captures why his absence bothers me: it's a missed opportunity to be our nation's leader in the most important way possible -- not as a spiritual leader in the pastoral sense (that's clearly not his job as president), but simply as a Christian who acknowledges his own dependence upon God and, by his example, encourages us to do the same. 

(Image © Chuck Kennedy for the White House)

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I think what really rankles the religious right is that they don't have a president in their pocket like they did with Bush II. He's issuing a proclamation, but he is not kowtowing to the Dobsons. Long past due.

Jason Taylor

Doesn't that assume that he is in fact a
"Christian who acknowledges his own dependence upon God and, by his example, encourages us to do the same?" Do we really want a President who insults our intelligence by making a nominal appearance? If he doesn't appear at least he is an honest infidel.
Do we want our church to be turned into a campaign billboard? Do we want the implication to get about that Christians are easy marks?

viking mother

Probably he is reaffirming those supporters who want him to separate from Mr. Bush's type of events.

What would be GOOD is to look at the whole picture...i.e. the good this day does for the nation.

(or if you are not religious...this day does no harm...)


Yep, this day does no harm to folks like me so long as the government is not hornswaggled into supporting one religious sect (evangelical Christitanity) as it has been for the last eight years.



"I think what really rankles the religious right is that they don't have a president in their pocket like they did with Bush II."

The first National Day of Prayer was in 1775, about 200 years before the rise of the Religious Right. Read more here:


Even if you want to start with the official NDP, that was signed into law by President Truman back in 1952. That date also predates the rise of the Religious Right.

Thus, I don't see the harm in President Obama proclaimining NDP as did his predecessors, liberal, conservative or moderate. After all, no rational person screamed "non-Irish bigotry" when the current president celebrated St. Patrick's Day. So, why should the presidential proclamation of NDP cause a stir?

Gina Dalfonzo

At least President Obama did this much:



Fred, It's not the proclamation that was the problem with GWB. It was the special access he gave the Dobsons et al on NDP (and all the rest of the time,) and the flavor that NDP had via the President as Christian, Protestant, and evangelical. THAT I am happy to see Obama put an end to.

Jason Taylor

Andy, every President happens to be be a member of the interest-group from which he came. Blaming Bush for that is like blaming Obama for being black. Or JFK for being Catholic. The one is not more irritating then the other.

Now as it happens Bush might have made more emphasis of his pariochial connections then would be proper. But he has done this less then Obama.

Rachel Coleman

The President's choice to not publicly take part in NDP is the first thing he's done in office that hasn't caused me grief. Finally, his actions match his words (or lack thereof).

Diane Singer

Andy, better James Dobson rather than Jeremiah Wright (I REFUSE to call him "Reverend")!

Come to think of it, maybe I need to rethink my disappointment over Obama's non-participation in a National Day of Prayer. If the president follows the example of his pastor for the past 20 years, perhaps the only prayer he could honestly utter is an imprecatory "God-d...n America" one. THAT kind of prayer we don't need!


Diane, my preference is the our Presidents keep their religious preferences private. That's not political reality, yet. My hope is that Obama's terms as President will take us back to sanity on the separation of religion from political rhetoric.

I am ecstatic though that Dobson can no longer pick up the phone and get a direct line to the Oval. Vast improvement. (As you can tell, I am definitely not a Dobson fan. Anybody who says that God must exist because "there's gotta be someone keepin' score" is an intellectual lightweight of the highest order.)

Jerry Virden

Reading over these comments I am reminded of how far this nation has gotten from it's Christian roots. We are a Christian nation or were at one time, check out Coral Ridge's website for further info. My point is I know from Scripture that a nation that abandons God, God will let this nation go to it's own destruction. (Romans 1:18-32). You can deny this or ignore it, it will not change the fact that we will be judged by it. Jesus said " But I say unto you that every idle word a man shall speak he will give an account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemend. Matthew 12:36&37

Jason Taylor

Jerry, there are no "Christian nations" there are only nations which are more or less friendly to Christianity. A Christian nation would have a Christian Army, A Christian Navy, A Christian police force, A Christian intelligence service Christian politicians, Christian prisons, and Christian executioners.

As well as Christian tax forms, a Christian postal service, and on and on.

And also, as it happens, a Christian underworld.

You do remember don't you, the phrase,"My Kingdom is not of this world."


Well, Jason, we *do* have a Salvation Army!

(I kid, I kid...)

Seriously, though, while I agree that we are not a Christian nation in any juridical sense, there is more to the U.S. than being "friendly" to Christianity. A nation is defined as much by its people as by its governing bodies, and in that sense, in the memorable words of the late Father Neuhaus, we remain a "confusedly Christian nation."

Jason Taylor

"Diane, my preference is the our Presidents keep their religious preferences private"

HOW private Andy? And what if "keeping it private" is incompatable with someone's religious preferences. Are you suggesting that having a religion is OK as long as you don't actually follow it?

As far as that goes, I would greatly desire that people in public life keep their sexual preferences private, their bad opinions about other people private, their knowledge of things that embarrass their collegues private and a whole lot of other things. I would especially like them to keep their possesion of state secrets private and not give them to the press or write books about them.

But as it happens, my desire that they keep their religious preferences private is not as strong as other desires.

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