G.W. knew how to get the most out of the National Day of Prayer, but President Obama is letting this great photo-op pass him by…
[White House Press Secretary] Gibbs said Obama prays privately and his plan for the day was in line with those of past presidents. Still, Obama drew a rebuke from the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a private group that promotes prayer events around the country.
“We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama Administration,” said task force chairwoman Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. “At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer.”
The first thing the President needs to recognize is that you get zero political capital out of praying privately. Even ‘Joe the Plumber’ gives the press updates on what God is telling him to do. If Sam Wurtzelbacher runs for office, you can be sure he has the God endorsement in his pocket.
Mr. Obama can learn a lot from reading the Bible. Jesus made some reckless remark to the effect that God liked the silent prayer of a tax collector better than public piety (Luke 18:9-14) , and later compared some very distinguished clergy to whitewashed graves.( Matthew 23:27)
And look what they did to Him!
Of course, Jesus was executed for blasphemy by a collusion of church and state–could never happen here. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is worried about having a National Day of Prayer at all, but the occasion has been observed since 1952 and has given so many politicians a chance to display their profound and sincere spirituality that it would be mean to deprive them.
Praying into a microphone in front of a cheering crowd seems kind of bizarre when you consider that God is omniscient. And prayer seems kind of intimate, really. But public baring of the soul is very popular with some constituencies. You wonder why the President can’t make an appearance and, you know, fake it. But maybe the Obamas, with their busy schedule, needed some time to focus on their own family. We the people can rest assured that James and Shirley Dobson are focusing on ours. Make sure you pull the shades down.