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Wingnuts Mad Obama Won’t Attend Prayer Breakfast

The National Day of Prayer, an event chaired by James Dobson’s wife, Shirley, happens every year. And every year, President Obama has issued an official proclamation for the event. But the Dobsons are none too happy that he isn’t showing up in person:

We do have different congressmen, Congressman [Randy] Forbes has been a great ally and Congressman [Robert] Aderholt, they participate themselves and we never have a problem at that observance. This year our honorary chairperson is going to be Greg Laurie and he’s going to be giving the main message, Chaplain Barry Black who is the chaplain of the Senate is going to be participating and Chaplain Wannick from the Pentagon is coming over to participate and of course congressman [Frank] Wolf will stand in for the legislature.

We have somebody for every branch but Janet unfortunately we’ve never had anybody come over from the executive branch. Every year we call the White House, we ask how the President wants to celebrate the National Day of Prayer and we appreciate that he does give a proclamation every year and they’ve been good with proclamations proclaiming a day of prayer in our nation, but the answer comes back ‘well the President has decided to pray silently or pray alone’ or there’s always some excuse. So we’ll say, ‘can somebody from his Cabinet come over and represent the executive branch so we can pray for them and pray for the President,’ and they’ve never sent anybody from the executive branch. We pray for them; we have somebody there that stands in the gab. But it really is so sad that they have all these other special interest groups in the White House but the Christians are not represented.

As Right Wing Watch points out, maybe it has something to do with the fact that Dobson openly prayed for Obama’s defeat in both elections? I wouldn’t show up either. Of course, I wouldn’t issue any such declarations. I agree with what Thomas Jefferson said about such proclamations in a letter to the Rev. Samuel Miller:

I consider the government of the U S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…

But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting & prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the U.S. an authority over religious exercises which the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be meant too that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not indeed of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation the less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed? I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct it’s exercises, it’s discipline, or it’s doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting & prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, & the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the constitution has deposited it.

I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be quoted. But I have ever believed that the example of state executives led to the assumption of that authority by the general government, without due examination, which would have discovered that what might be a right in a state government, was a violation of that right when assumed by another. Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.

James Madison, who more than anyone else was responsible for the First Amendment and the whole Bill of Rights, agreed in his Detached Memoranda:

Religious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings & fasts are shoots from the same root with the legislative acts reviewed.

Altho’ recommendations only, they imply a religious agency, making no part of the trust delegated to political rulers.

The objections to them are 1. that Govts ought not to interpose in relation to those subject to their authority but in cases where they can do it with effect. An advisory Govt is a contradiction in terms. 2. The members of a Govt as such can in no sense, be regarded as possessing an advisory trust from their Constituents in their religious capacities. They cannot form an ecclesiastical Assembly, Convocation, Council, or Synod, and as such issue decrees or injunctions addressed to the faith or the Consciences of the people. In their individual capacities, as distinct from their official station, they might unite in recommendations of any sort whatever, in the same manner as any other individuals might do. But then their recommendations ought to express the true character from which they emanate. 3. They seem to imply and certainly nourish the erronious idea of a national religion. The idea just as it related to the Jewish nation under a theocracy, having been improperly adopted by so many nations which have embraced Xnity, is too apt to lurk in the bosoms even of Americans, who in general are aware of the distinction between religious & political societies. The idea also of a union of all to form one nation under one Govt in acts of devotion to the God of all is an imposing idea.

The entire practice of such proclamations should be ended.

Comments

  1. says

    Since the members of the US government swear an oath to uphold the US Constitution, and the Dobsons, as far as I am aware, appear to advocate for policy that would violate the Constitution, I don’t think they even deserve the consideration of a proclamation.

  2. Doug Little says

    We have somebody for every branch but Janet unfortunately we’ve never had anybody come over from the executive branch. Every year we call the White House, we ask how the President wants to celebrate the National Day of Prayer and we appreciate that he does give a proclamation every year and they’ve been good with proclamations proclaiming a day of prayer in our nation, but the answer comes back ‘well the President has decided to pray silently or pray alone’ or there’s always some excuse.

    Yes, now apply that logic to God not showing up and maybe you will get the hint.

  3. says

    Another National Day Of God Not Showing Up?

    Has it been a whole year already since the last time god didn’t show up? My how time flies when god doesn’t show up.

  4. pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile says

    the wingnuts are already upset at that photoshopped picture of Obama with the bangs. they feel he is trying to mock the Teabagger’s spiritual leader, Moe Howard.

  5. says

    “But the Dobsons are none too happy that he isn’t showing up in person…”

    To be fair, they’d be equally faux-outraged if he showed up, too.

  6. stever says

    I like the quotes from Jefferson and Madison. I wonder how long it will be before we have a President with the courage to cite them in response to the routine request for a Day of Prayer. BTW, I don’t think Thomas Jefferson jammed an apostrophe into the possessive form of “it.”

  7. zippythepinhead says

    Wait, how the fucking hell is this different from the National Prayer Breakfast (sponsored by “The Fellowship” on the 1st Thursday in February)? How many of these god-damned breakfasts is the Prez supposed to attend (or not)? Obama addressed the NPB back in 2009. That may have been the only time. Once is one too many.

  8. jaycee says

    Didn’t Jesus command to pray alone? Wasn’t praying alone in fact his own personal practice in the gospels? I wish the fundamengelicals would get around to reading their own bible.

  9. Larry says

    Wouldn’t matter if Obama went to their mutual masturbation session. They’d fault him for not doing the job we’re actually paying him to do. Or for Bengazi!!11ty. Or something else.

  10. Doug Little says

    I wish the fundamengelicals would get around to reading their own bible

    I wish they would just do some simple observation and figure out that they are wasting their time.

  11. matty1 says

    Maybe next time Obama is invited to endorse a day of prayer he should reply with a copy of Jefferson’s letter and a note saying the matter has been addressed by a previous President.

  12. slavdude says

    Uh, the Pentagon is part of the executive branch, you maroon.

    At any rate, when are they going to invite non-Christians to participate?

    Let’s just dump the whole thing.

  13. tubi says

    But it really is so sad that they have all these other special interest groups in the White House but the Christians are not represented.

    Really, Dobson? Christians aren’t represented in the WH? Poor, poor pitiful me. Just fuck off, please.

  14. markr1957 says

    Today’s babble lesson – Matthew 6: 5. And whenever you pray you should not be like the hypocrites that love to stand in the assemblies and on the corners of the marketplaces to pray that they be visible to the sons of men. And truly I say to you that they have received their reward.

    You’d think these babble-thumpers would know this stuff!

  15. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    @stever

    He often used that spelling. You’ll find it in many of his letters. The OED says its was “at first commonly written it’s, a spelling retained by some to the beginning of the 19c.”

  16. Matrim says

    Every year we call the White House, we ask how the President wants to celebrate the National Day of Prayer and we appreciate that he does give a proclamation every year and they’ve been good with proclamations proclaiming a day of prayer in our nation, but the answer comes back ‘well the President has decided to pray silently or pray alone’ or there’s always some excuse.

    Yeah, how dare he pray in the manner commanded by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. What kind of Christian would side with Jesus over the fundagelicals?

  17. jnorris says

    Does the Dodson’s god require a government decree to hear prayers now? That must be why the hungry sick people in poverty stricken countries aren’t on god’s radar when they pray.

  18. tfkreference says

    @Hercules: …and retained to this day by the Apple developers who gave the iPhone it’s autocorrect.

  19. bad Jim says

    German seems to manage without the possessive Apostrophe, perhaps because it doesn’t use «s» for Plurals. We get by pretty well without capitalizing all Nouns (as our Founders often did.)

  20. Christoph Burschka says

    unfortunately we’ve never had anybody come over from the executive branch

    Yeah, I hear the Vatican has the same problem. Hasn’t stopped them the past two thousand years.

  21. Christoph Burschka says

    perhaps because it doesn’t use «s» for Plurals

    Autos! :P (But granted, the “s” plurals are uncommon and generally reserved for loan words); the syntax also disambiguates between plural and possessive in most cases.)

    (Also, all this doesn’t stop some people from using the apostrophe both for possessive and for plural forms.)

  22. says

    @stever #6

    ” I wonder how long it will be before we have a President with the courage to cite them in response to the routine request for a Day of Prayer.”

    Obama being in his second and final term, I pray to the LORD that in his final weeks, he “comes out” as the atheist that I and many others are 90% certain he is, and sermonizes about the fact that atheists are just as fit for office as others — more so, because they’re not captive to insane, destructive fucking bullshit. In fact, I hope he says it exactly like that.

  23. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    the answer comes back ‘well the President has decided to pray silently or pray alone’

    they aren’t happy with his acting in the Biblically mandated manner?

  24. oranje says

    This is kind of how I picture an adult Linus sounding after years and years of no Great Pumpkin. Just bitter and naive.

  25. Ichthyic says

    But it really is so sad that they have all these other special interest groups in the White House but the Christians are not represented.

    Christians not represented….

    LOL

    Liars for Jesus indeed.

    I dream of the day self-proclaimed christians are no longer of sufficient power to warrant their own lobbyists.

  26. Ichthyic says

    Autos!

    which is not a german word, so probably why the non german plural form is used.

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