Proof that progressivism is alive and well on planet Earth came again this past week via a Wisconsin federal judge’s ruling that the National Day of Prayer (NDP) is unconstitutional.
Appointed to the bench by Jimmy Carter, U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic. She further gave the rationale, "The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy."
Even more preposterous logic is found in her words: "In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray."
As most know, the first Thursday in May has been honored as a national day of prayer since 1952, when its approval flew through the Congress as a way to help separate America as a country with a godly heritage and to aid her success against atheistic communism. Ever since, presidents have commemorated the NDP. Even President Obama issued a proclamation in 2009 about the NDP, though he did not hold ecumenical and public events with religious leaders, as former President George W. Bush had done.
Regarding Crabb’s ruling on the NDP being unconstitutional, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulow hit the judicial nail on the head when he said, "It is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition that embraces the First Amendment, not violates it."
The phrase "the separation of church and state" actually comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists. He told them that no particular Christian denomination was going to have a monopoly in government. His words, "a wall of separation between church and state," were not written to remove all religious practice from government or civic settings, but to prohibit the domination and even legislation of religious sectarianism.
Some might be completely surprised to discover that just two days after Jefferson wrote his famous letter citing the "wall of separation between church and state," he attended church in the place where he always had as president: the U.S. Capitol. The very seat of our nation’s government was used for sacred purposes. As the Library of Congress notes, "It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church." Does that sound like someone who was trying to create an impenetrable wall of separation between church and state?
In 1789, after being urged by Congress on the same day they finished drafting the First Amendment, President Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation stating that "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."
President John Adams declared that America’s independence "ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
Ben Franklin was particularly eloquent on the power of prayer in government, as he addressed those who attended the Constitutional Convention:
"In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, That God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"
It’s a question that needs to ring from the corridors of Congress to the halls of our public schools and homes: "And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?"
To answer for yourself and your household, take a minute right now to sign the official NDP prayer petition.
As the Protect Prayer Website reads: "U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb needs a history lesson, and we need to send a message to Congress: ‘It’s time that we put a stop to renegade judges who rule with no understanding of our nation’s history. Our founding fathers declared National Days of Prayer to be constitutional, and so should you!’"
Most of all, join a group in your local community on this 59th National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, bow your head in prayer with them, beseech God to forgive and heal our land, and demonstrate in action your First Amendment rights!