Thursday, May 7, 2009

Silent Prayer

President Obama observed the National Day of Prayer today in much the same way as most of his predecessors did: he signed a proclamation. (I didn’t even know that the NDP was today, but then, as a Quaker, every day is a day of prayer.)

That, of course, was not good enough for the Pharisees.

Conservative Christian leaders who popularized the event are regarding it at a snub, calling it a “boycott.” … During the Bush administration, the first Thursday in May — the National Day of Prayer, as mandated by Congress — included a ceremony in the White House East Room with prominent evangelicals. It was headed by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

There’s no White House ceremony this year.

Mr. Bush of course made a big deal out of the day because he is, what a pastor friend of mine called, a “loud pray-er;” one of those people who like to wear their holiness on their sleeve, and anything he could do to keep in the good graces of the Religious Right — at least in public — was part of the plan. So it’s not surprising that they’re now all worked up that Mr. Obama isn’t being as obsequious to them as his predecessor.

One prominent religious right activist, Concerned Women for America’s Wendy Wright, said, “President Obama may have problems believing in the Christian faith, he should at least honor the traditions and foundation of our country.”

If I believed that there was such a place, I would hope that there is a special place in Hell for the smug and sanctimonious twits like Ms. Wright. First, the “traditions and foundations of our country” include separation of church and state. Second, to impugn Mr. Obama’s faith for political gain is beneath contempt. (Then again, that is a skill the CWA excel at.)

The National Day of Prayer may be sanctioned by an act of Congress, but in the case of the Religious Right, I propose a National Day of STFU.*

*Shut The Fuck Up.