Abraham Lincoln mentioned God five times in his 1863 NDP proclamation. There go all those Lincoln-Obama comparisons.
Oh, but wait: in his 1864 NDP proclamation, Lincoln said "God" zero times. Ah ha! No wonder we lost the Civil—um, wait...
The Dobson crowd will whimper "Snub!" and "Impiety!" over a President who some could argue is still injecting too much religion into public policy. But one source says that the Dobson clique said officials attending the Capitol Hill NDP event had to be opponents of abortion rights. Sure—because people who respect women's autonomy don't say the right kind of prayers. (The only Cabinet member who received an invite was abortion-rights opponent Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood... and he didn't attend.)
And don't forget that of these same folks demanding inclusion of their little ceremony in official state functions are demanding President Obama's exclusion from honoring Notre Dame's graduates. Have fun sorting that one out.
Ms. Posner speaks some useful truth:
The religious right leadership has demanded adherence to its own brand of religion as the only way to be genuinely American. Their distortion of the constitution and our heritage of religious pluralism exposes them as the real subversives, not the president they so cravenly seek to undermine [Sarah Posner, "Obama's Understated National Day of Prayer," Guardian UK, 2009.05.08].
And one more useful truth to think about on your way to your pew, from the man at the top of the free world:
...we continue to live in a Nation where people of all faiths can worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience.
Let us also use this day to come together in a moment of peace and goodwill. Our world grows smaller by the day, and our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife; and to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. As we observe this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great religions together: the Golden Rule, and its call to love one another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth [emphasis mine; President Barack Hussein Obama, "Presidential Proclamation: National Day of Prayer," 2009.05.07].
All snark aside: President Obama does National Day of Prayer right. He calls all of us, even us secular humanists, to unity and service. He challenges all of us to look past our prejudices (mine as well as Dobson's) and work together as neighbors. That's the spirit that makes me not want to miss next year's National Day of Prayer.