Two years ago I wrote for Jewcy about how offended I was by the National Day of Prayer which could also have been called, “Day For Christians To Pat Themselves On The Back For Electing Bush.” Under the Bush administration, the NDoP was a very Christian focused event. Christian focused events don’t really bother me, but they do when they’re sponsored by the government.
This year, it’s not clear if the Obamas are going to observe NDoP, or in what manner they would observe it. The Washington Post reports: Now the Obama White House is facing questions of inside-the-Beltway etiquette: Should President Obama maintain the open door to conservative critics like James and Shirley Dobson, and if so, should they accept?
Or, will the White House have an official observance at all?
With those questions unanswered less than two weeks before the annual observance, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, headed by Shirley Dobson, is moving ahead with other plans.
“We’re not the coordinators of that event,” said Brian Toon, vice chairman of the task force. “That’s controlled completely by the White House. We have been honored to be guests at the event in the past, but we have not heard a peep from them.”
The task force’s work has been criticized in recent years by those who say that the observances have become events for evangelical Christians. Several interfaith groups this week wrote to Obama saying that members of Dobson’s group are “exclusionists” who have “taken over” the National Day of Prayer. Leaders of the Interfaith Alliance and Jews on First asked the president to endorse an “inclusive” prayer day.
Here’s my idea for the National Day of Prayer: the President and his family come to daily minyan with me, and afterwards we have breakfast at the diner next door and talk about how prayer is important, but sometimes it sucks. Who’s with me?