Some criticism surrounding the controversy over the National Day of Prayer should go to religious organizations–for not complaining about the federal government trespassing on their territory.
Why would religion want endorsement from a group not especially known for moral fortitude? If gamblers or pornographers called for a day to honor religion, there would be massive objections. So where are the objections when the endorsement comes from a group so widely considered morally bankrupt as our politicians?
Religion is far more popular than Washington D.C.; religion being promoted by government is like iPad getting an endorsement from the Kindle. Does it hurt more than it helps?
By endorsing National Prayer Day, politicians hope to borrow some of religion’s popularity, thus piggyback into projecting an unearned sense of holiness–directly profiting off of God’s popularity in the polls. How does that promote either religion or morality?
Why do religious organizations tolerate government claiming any authority over prayer? If all the religions in the US declared their own National Day of Prayer, it would have a lot more meaning than a day declared by the government. The significance of the prayer itself should not be overshadowed by who claims they think it should be officially recognized as a good idea.
Most politicians support any position only so long as it serves their purpose. Even sincere politicians have different agendas than religious organizations; politicians can just as easily not support prayer, or endorse something entirely contradictory to a religious agenda if it get votes. By acknowledging government as a legitimate authority on religious matters, religious organizations put themselves at risk for the day when they find conflicts between their interests and government interests.
I think the Rev. Franklin Graham is starting to get the idea that politicians use religion for their purposes and it does not work the other way around.
There were millions of evangelical Christians that voted for Barack Obama in the last election. I don’t think they’ll be at the table next time. I think they’ve seen things from this administration that concern them, that worry them.
On this, federally declared National Day of Prayer: I pray for religious leaders to recognize that accepting a blessing from a politician is making a deal with the devil.