I’m not a fan of the Nationwide Day of Prayer.
Not that I oppose prayer, however the day is an event to place the nation in a sacred highlight, linking God and America in a method that finally ends up whitewashing the character of the nation. Phrases like “one nation under God” and “the freedom of religion” and “in God we trust” inevitably discover their method into the celebrations. Phrases of scripture are regularly heard however normally abused for the aim of the adoration of America.
The general public prayers provided at Nationwide Day of Prayer celebrations are not often prayers for the victims of misguided insurance policies of the nation. Prayers are seldom heard for refugees turned away on the southern border, for these tortured and oppressed by nations thought to be “friends” to the U.S., or for these killed and maimed by the limitless American wars largely fought for financial pursuits. Prayers for nationwide repentance — apart from these by the Spiritual Proper that reference abortion — are usually lacking.
The Nationwide Day of Prayer is America-centric. Although folks of quite a lot of faiths might come collectively, the umbrella beneath which they huddle is America, not God.
The faith of American nationalism is at play, generally subtly, typically blatantly, however invariably. If the crowds are requested to hitch voices to sing songs or to recite phrases, these won’t be lyrics or phrases that may equally be uttered by faith-filled peoples of each nation, however solely by People. The “unity” of the Nationwide Day of Prayer doesn’t embrace all folks of religion however solely all individuals who have religion in America.
This 12 months, the president of the USA ensured that the Nationwide Day of Prayer was not solely America-centric however Trump-centric.
In Trump’s speech for the event, he made outrageously false, self-glorifying claims. Apparently, earlier than he was elected, God was taking place for the rely! Individuals couldn’t even brazenly say the phrase “God.” He declared that “people are so proud to be using that beautiful word ‘God.’ And they’re using the word ‘God’ again, and they’re not hiding from it. And they’re not being told to take it down, and they’re not saying, ‘We can’t honor God.’ In God, we trust. So important.”
Trump additionally took the chance on the Nationwide Day of Prayer to assert he’s the president who saved Christmas! He claimed that earlier than he took workplace “people were not allowed or in some cases, foolishly ashamed to be using in stores ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas.’” However now — rejoice! — these phrases can once more be heard as a substitute of the lame phrases, “Happy holidays!” He continued: “Take a look at your stores nowadays. It’s all ‘Merry Christmas’ again. They’re proud of it. I always said, ‘You’re going to be saying “Merry Christmas” once more.’ And that’s what occurred.”
Trump additionally claimed he gave non secular organizations freedom of speech they beforehand didn’t have. Particularly, he stated he put an finish to the Johnson modification, a federal legislation that restricts homes of worship, charitable nonprofits, and personal foundations from formally endorsing, opposing, or financially supporting political campaigns and events. The factor is he truly didn’t do it. He tried however failed.
Trump did signal an government order in 2017 that makes it modestly simpler for church buildings to take part in politics. However it’s obscure and never almost as broad in its modifications as Trump claims. Trump hoped to additional empower non secular conservatives who’ve strongly supported him.
To his credit score, Trump additionally stated, “We will fight with all our strength and everything that we have in our bodies to defeat anti-Semitism, to end the attacks on the Jewish people and to conquer all forms of persecution, intolerance and hate.” Sadly, there’s little proof he extends this dedication to Muslims.
On the contrary, to an appalling diploma, Trump has given voice to anti-Muslim bigotry. Amongst well-known examples are his false declare that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the World Commerce Heart collapsed on September 11, 2001. Trump declared, “I think Islam hates us.” He has repeatedly unfold hate and suspicion and has sought to limit Muslims from coming into the U.S.
However with or and not using a Trump-flavoring, the Nationwide Day of Prayer is a part of a nationalistic liturgy that seeks to form our affections and name forth loyalty — to not the God of all however to the god who has a specific attachment to the USA of America. And that god is just not one worthy of the devotion of those that declare to observe Jesus.