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23 April, 2007 By Rev. Ted Pike

This Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will move forward its federal hate crimes agenda by a cunning tactic: They will take advantage of sympathy for the victims of hate at Virginia Tech and anger with Don Imus' "verbal violence" against young black athletes. A special hearing is to be held next Wednesday discussing "Rising Crime in the United States: Examining the Federal Role in Helping Communities Prevent and Respond to Violent Crime." 1

Inevitably, they will conclude that much greater coordination between federal and local policing powers is necessary: The government should receive expanded privileges to prevent and respond to violent crimes in the states. Such federal takeover of states' rights in law enforcement with unrestricted "police state" powers is a huge part of the objectives of the federal "anti-hate" bill. It is now moving forward rapidly in the House and Judiciary Committees and even perhaps to a vote in the House next week. The federal hate bill threatens to end free speech in America, just as similar Orwellian hate laws have done in Canada and many European countries. (Download Hate Crimes Flyer)

How can America best respond to this threat to freedom -- a threat that may be immeasurably heightened by skillful manipulation of recent tragic events?


How George Washington Responded

During the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington was immersed in similar crises and emergencies. His response: Proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer in which all Americans were encouraged to humble themselves before God and cry out for national deliverance.

Pres. Lincoln made a similar decree during the Civil War, but until 1982 the national day of prayer was, for all practical purposes, unobserved. 2 How it was revived is a story best known to me. I helped make it a reality.

In the spring of 1980 my father, Rev. Claude Pike, a veteran radio broadcaster and pioneer in conservative politics, was very burdened for the future of Christian America. After reading an editorial by Richard Viguerie, editor of Conservative Digest magazine, calling for revival of the National Day of Prayer, he decided to make it happen.

A family of pilots, my father, my brother John, and I saw our ancient 1929 Bellanca monoplane, the same type that first flew the Pacific in 1931, as our instrument. I painted an American flag on the side of "Old Glory," as we christened her. We rigged an enormous aerial banner behind, proclaiming, "Pray for America." Underneath the belly was mounted a deafening loudspeaker. We planned to fly all over America proclaiming from the skies, like God, the need for national repentance.

We prepared Old Glory during a period of unusually low finances, confident that God, Who had inspired this venture, would provide the funds to fill our tanks -- even at the last minute. Yet, by the day before takeoff, our bank was still empty. That afternoon my father borrowed $2500 at 30-percent interest from a loan shark. For the next week we flew eastward barnstorming from city to city. We almost reached New York, then traversed the south and southwest and California. We held press conferences and proclaimed our message over cities and towns and at Christian conservative patriotic rallies. On the ground we gathered many thousands of signatures petitioning re-observance of the National Day of Prayer.

During that summer, many religious conservative leaders and tens of thousands of Christians became aware of our campaign. And yet Pres. Reagan might never have proclaimed the National Day of Prayer if my father had not personally talked with Morton Blackwell, Reagan's liaison to the religious right, who promised to mention it to the President. Several weeks later my father was summoned to the Oval Office for the signing ceremony, accompanied by a handful of national religious leaders.


ACLU Fights Back

The ACLU was outraged that Reagan had violated "separation of church and state." They threatened to make the National Day of Prayer illegal. Fortunately, in 1988 Congress stood behind the President with their own resolution. ACLU backed off.

Today, the National Day of Prayer reminds us that God's power to save remains. What is doubtful is whether we will humble ourselves, as did our forbears, to repent and empower such deliverance.

Congress declared every first Thursday of May the National Day of Prayer. This year, that's 10 days off -- too far away. We need an upheaval of national prayer right now! With a possible vote on the hate bill in the House this very week, May 3 may be too late. A 10-day "national prayer vigil" should be observed tomorrow, April 23, culminating in the National Day of Prayer on May 3.

I believe the danger to freedom today is so great that more spiritual power and advocacy with God is necessary than can be generated in one day. It is now, not next week, that churches should be kept open for prayer vigils and special prayer meetings be held. An extraordinary time of crisis demands a corresponding response.

Be assured, God will find a way to hold back the darkness, at least in our time, if we put Him first in our lives. God's job description is simple and direct: HE IS THE DELIVERER. If we are true to Him, He will be true to His unchanging promise: "If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chron.7:14)

Endnotes:

1 http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=2719

2 The National Day of Prayer was reaffirmed by Pres. Truman in 1952. Truman's decree was virtually unknown and unobserved by the religious public with one notable exception: businessman Peter Stuart who commissioned a public prayer memorial in Dallas and attempted to promote public prayer in his region during the 1970s.



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September 6, 1980

"Old Glory" returns, laden with thousands of signed petitions calling upon the President to re-instate the National Day of Prayer.



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February 6, 1982

President Reagan, before Rev. Pike and other national religious leaders, signs the proclamation requiring that the first Thursday in May be observed as National Day of Prayer.

current Ted Pike photo
Ted, today - photo: John Pike, October 2019

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