Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Depoliticizing Prayer

After eight years of White House showboating on National Prayer Day, Barack Obama celebrated the event yesterday with a proclamation that emphasized the private nature of religious observance.

In his proclamation, the President noted that on "this day of unity and prayer," we "live in a nation where people of all faiths can worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience."

The Religious Right was not pleased, The marketing and media manager of the National Day of Prayer Task Force harrumphed: "The White House is a small part of what the national day of prayer is all about. Tomorrow there will be dozens of events held in our nation's capitol and governors from all 50 states have already issued proclamations...It would be belittling to those millions of people to reduce this day to merely one event not being held at the White House."

The irony in all this is that Obama, from all evidence, is more genuinely religious than Bush, who found his faith only when he was forced to give up booze in midlife.

Shortly before taking office, the President-in-waiting disclosed that he had been getting spiritual support every morning from "a prayer circle" of pastors from all faiths and denominations, some of whom "get on the phone and pray for me."

With the way the economy is going, even the most devout non-believer must be hoping that they are continuing their devotions.

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