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National Day of Prayer

April 28, 2013

To the editor: One of the things that makes our nation great is the faith of its people expressed in prayer....

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Ring2003

Apr-28-13 9:13 AM

What a huge contradiction of the separation of church and state. Churches, have a prayer day. It should NOT be a day nationally recognized by the government.

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GrandmaD

Apr-28-13 3:36 PM

The National Day of Prayer is observed by Americans of many faiths, including Christians of numerous denominations, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc.

It was enacted in 1952, observed by every President since, signing a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray or meditate.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants it banned. I'm real tired of this group trying to take faith based rights & traditions away. It's one day out of the year, & if they don't want to pray, they can just meditate or do nothing, but they should leave it alone & let us keep it.

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MichaelT

Apr-29-13 2:31 AM

The anti-establishment clause of the 1st Amendment prohibits the Federal Gov't from establishing an official state religion. It does not prohibit the Federal Gov't from encouraging the citizens of this country to exercise their religious freedom by appealing to God to bless the nation. It is obvious that the Constitution does not prohibit such an appeal to prayer; otherwise, the men who wrote and signed the Constitution would not have made such appeals, which they did. Anyone who calls such an appeal for prayer unconstitutional is engaging in historical revisionism and is perverting the Constitution.

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careaboutsnivelrights

Apr-29-13 12:04 PM

So Ring, what do you have to look forward to after you die?

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JReader

Apr-29-13 1:31 PM

Just what are "faith based rights and traditions" ?

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mnsotn

Apr-29-13 1:52 PM

There is a difference between "freedom OF religion" and "freedom FROM religion". The Constitution does not guarantee the latter.

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Ring2003

Apr-29-13 2:27 PM

I am in no way saying that churches shouldn't organize a national day. I am not suggesting taking your time to pray or organize group prayer away. What is not appropriate is for the government to endorse/suggest that you pray. This should have never been a presidential proclamation in the first place. Because it is doesn't make it right. Why isn't it okay to just be content with the religious freedom you enjoy? Why is government involvement needed?

Christians are fine with Day of Prayer because it amplifies their belief system. I am guessing the same people commenting here would be opposed to a National Day of Fasting for Ramadan. There is no difference between that and a National Day of Prayer. So please be careful what you wish for. Government should be religiously neutral or it doesn't represent all of its citizens. What is does do, however, is create a separation.

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MichaelT

Apr-29-13 5:36 PM

Ring2003: You use terms like "not appropriate" and not "right."

This makes a person wonder how you are arriving at these judgments. It is the Constitution that determines what is appropriate within our gov't, and there is nothing in the Constitution that declares it "inappropriate" for the federal or state gov't to declare a day of prayer.

It is true that in doing this, the gov't is not representing the views of all of its citizens. But think about it -- when does the gov't EVER represent the views of all its citizens? With a million different views on every topic out there, that is impossible. There are times when the cultural norm will lead to governmental actions that a minority feel is immoral or distasteful, but that does not necessarily mean that the gov't has stepped outside its constitutional limitations.

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middleclassworker

Apr-29-13 8:57 PM

A "National Day of Fasting for ramadan" would endorse one religion, and that would be wrong. National Day of Prayer endorses no religion. In God We Trust.

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svensota

Apr-29-13 11:03 PM

What a crazy mixed up world this is.

I just hit the agree button on MIT's latest post.

What next, a woman president?

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JReader

Apr-30-13 8:41 AM

Why do the faithful need to be called to prayer through a government proclamation ?

Where is the government need to participate in such an endeavor ?

Isn't it all just another ploy to make our politicians look like "regular guys" to the rest of us ?

I'd rather judge our elected leaders on their more mundane and routine tasks like balancing our budget, education, national security, etc. If having our politicians coming out being "pro prayer" makes you all warm and fuzzy inside - then so be it. Just remember, you're being duped.

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shadow

Apr-30-13 4:22 PM

MichaelT what do you haave to look for after death NOTHING OR IN MOST CASE'S*****

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Ring2003

Apr-30-13 7:41 PM

And no one answered- not even Michael: Why do you need a government recognized prayer day? Why can't this be done without the government? Anyone??

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Integrity

May-01-13 8:24 AM

It's not a matter of "need". The government chose to endorse this day because it felt that it was important to the country and the country's well-being as a whole. At no point did the president wake up with a "need to endorse". Govt reps vote based on their faiths all the time, separation of church and state is a punch line that has no white or black, but complete gray.

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JReader

May-01-13 11:57 AM

How is this important to our country's well being ? Are we all just supposed to pray our way out of our economic woes ?

If a politician wants to use "their faith" as a basis for voting on key issues then so be it. I think more of them use a higher calling, however. They vote based on what will garner them the most money in their re-election coffers.

The government has no reason to promote any religious practice even one as generic as prayer.

Are you religious people so weak in your own faith as to need the goverment to tell you it is ok to pray ?

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MichaelT

May-01-13 12:51 PM

Do we need to be rehashing the same old arguments over and over? I think we can all agree that there are some out there who would like our gov't to be, in effect, atheistic. We get it.

At the same time, I would hope that the atheists among us could come to accept it as a fact of life that the majority of their fellow citizens are never going to agree with them on this. And as long as we have the form of gov't that we do, which allows for free expression of religion both inside and outside the gov't, there are going to continue to be instances in which our gov't participates in activities that are relgious in nature.

Nothing that I've stated above is going to change. So why argue about it?

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JReader

May-01-13 3:35 PM

Why argue about it ? For the same reason you feel compelled to dictate who others can marry.

Some people don't pray. Some people have no particular religious affiliation. When the goverment advocates a particular religious practice it is taking sides and demonstrates it is pro-religion when by design it is to remain neutral. Individuals can practice their religions to their hearts content but there is no stated purpose for our government institutions to do so - at least no viable reason that any of you have been able to state.

Michael, the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage do you feel it is another one of those things we shouldn't be arguing over ?

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Bindle

May-01-13 6:14 PM

mnsotn...you cannot have freedom OF religion without freedom FROM it. That is the same as saying the constitution says you have to have a religion. That argument always makes me laugh. Sort of, if I wasn't so depressed by it. We don't need the gov't proclaiming a day of prayer, that is what our churches are there for. And one can pray any where, and any time voluntarily.

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MichaelT

May-01-13 6:33 PM

JR: Your last post twists the Constitution in a way that those who wrote and approved that document clearly did not intend.

You claim that our gov't is to remain neutral when it comes to religious practices, and that this neutrality is "by design."

The 1st Amendment's anti-establishment clause simply says that the federal gov't will not establish a church, an official and publicly supported church, as was and is found in several countries in Europe. The 1st Amendment also prohibits the federal gov't from passing laws that stand in the way of the free exercise of religion.

There is nothing in the 1st Amendment that speaks of an official neutrality toward religious practices, as can be clearly seen by the fact that the Founding Fathers themselves engaged in religious practices in their official gov't capacities.

Your "neutrality" is a modern invention being forced upon the Constitution.

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MichaelT

May-01-13 6:39 PM

Another comment - It has been mentioned a couple of times in this thread that there is no "need" or "viable reason" for the gov't to encourage the people to pray.

That whole line of thought is totally beside the point. The only question that needs to be answered is whether the federal gov't has the Constitutional freedom to authorize a national day of prayer. Since the answer to this is plainly "yes", no one needs to prove to any who disapprove that such an action is necessary or beneficial.

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MichaelT

May-01-13 6:41 PM

From George Washington's Thanksgiving Day declaration:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.

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Ring2003

May-01-13 7:19 PM

You can not have freedom OF religion without freedom FROM it. The below quote is from A.Cline and explains it best:

"Freedom from religion does not mean, as some mistakenly seem to claim, being free from seeing religion in society. No one has the right not to see churches, religious expression, and other examples of religious belief in our nation — and those who advocate freedom of religion do not claim otherwise.

What freedom from religion does mean, however, is the freedom from the rules and dogmas of other people’s religious beliefs so that we can be free to follow the demands of our own conscience, whether they take a religious form or not. Thus, we have both freedom of religion and freedom from religion because they are two sides of the same coin."

And Michael- no one is asking the government to be Atheist. Religiously neutral will do.

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MichaelT

May-01-13 7:47 PM

Ring2003: Show me where in A. Cline's (who is that?) statement he presents anything other than his personal thinking. Show me where he says anything that approaches a Constitutional defense for his position.

Do you care what the Constitution says? Or are you suggesting that we should all just ignore the Constitution and base our views of our gov't on what each of us would prefer that it should be? Are you against the Constitution?

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MichaelT

May-01-13 7:50 PM

Ring2003: Regarding your last paragraph - As I said before, a gov't that is neutral when it comes to all things religious is a gov't that is, IN EFFECT, atheistic.

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svensota

May-01-13 9:53 PM

Now, MIT, you were doing just fine, don't go off the cliff.

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