Has the religious right "hijacked" the National Day of Prayer to exclude other faiths? The anti-evangelical watchdog group "Jews on First" claims it has. It says the National Day of Prayer Taskforce (associated with Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family) discriminates against non-Christian Jews who want to participate in this Christian organization. It alleges that many other Christian national prayer groups should be prevented from similar discrimination. Jews on First says such organizations violate non-Christians' civil rights by requiring members be Christian.
Jews on First is now organizing a national protest. They offer two options to state governors: rescind their annual proclamation of the May 1st National Day of Prayer; or substitute it with an "Inclusive National Day of Prayer."
These Jewish activists claim their protest has been joined by "dozens of religious, civil rights, and social justice organizations."
Jews on First has everything upside down. The National Day of Prayer was proclaimed in 1775 by Gen. George Washington to encourage all religions to promote fasting and prayer in their own ways. Recent massive observance was spearheaded by Focus on the Family in the late eighties. Dr. Dobson's group encouraged observance from a Christian perspective yet made it abundantly clear that people of all religions are welcome to observe the National Day of Prayer as they see fit. Nothing prevents Jews, Muslims, etc. from creating their own national prayer committees to contribute to this historic, national observance.
But Jews on First claims that Christians' celebration of this day is discriminatory! It says Dobson's organization violates separation of church and state by promoting state ceremonies with governors. This might give the impression that government participated in religion! Jews on First claims this violates the First Amendment.
The issue of national prayer is of special concern to our National Prayer Network. Despite Focus on the Family's creation of a National Prayer Committee in 1972, the National Day of Prayer was largely forgotten by 1980. My father, Rev. Claude Pike, was very concerned. He saw this day's powerful potential to help bring spiritual revival and restoration to our nation. To publicize its reestablishment, during the summer of 1980, my father, my brother John and I flew our 1929 Bellanca (the first type to fly the Pacific in 1931) thousands of miles across America . Our ancient monoplane towed a huge banner urging "Pray for America !" Through a deafening loudspeaker on the plane's belly, we proclaimed this message over many U.S. cities and patriotic rallies. We flew from Portland , Oregon almost to New York , through the South to Los Angeles and back to Portland . During 1980-1, our promotion was the only concerted national effort to restore the National Day of Prayer, generating widespread publicity. In response, Pres. Reagan invited my father and other new right leaders to the White House. On February 6th, 1982 , they witnessed him sign a proclamation that the National Day of Prayer be observed on the 1st Thursday of May every year.
As religious leaders joined with us, we had a number of meetings in Washington, D.C. (primarily under the new leadership of Dr. Bill and Vonette Bright of Campus Crusade) to chart the course of public observance of the National Day of Prayer. From the beginning, such leaders were very forthright in welcoming persons of all faiths, especially Jews. They encouraged every group to create their own organization and promote the National Day of Prayer in their own way.
Christian evangelical groups eagerly created national and local prayer committees. Today there are 40,000 Christian-oriented events on the 1st Thursday of every May. Jews, however, do not respond in the same way. Virtually no synagogues participate. After Pres. Reagan's 1982 proclamation, the Jewish-dominated American Civil Liberties Union tried to bring a federal lawsuit to stop government endorsement of the National Day of Prayer. (See, ACLU Top Heavy with Jews) Fortunately, Congress approved the National Day of Prayer in 1988 and the ACLU backed off. But the present campaign by Jews on First is more of the same. Typically, Jews on First does not recommend that Jews form their own prayer committees. Instead they demand penetration into Christian groups or else, incredibly, an end of the National Day of Prayer completely!
Unfortunately, because Jews on First is so conspicuously Jewish, it is virtually certain no Christian evangelical organization — or media — will breathe a word of warning before or after May 1. Consider the prevailing mindset of evangelicals: a divine curse attends those who oppose God's "chosen people." Opposition to Jews would mean losing vast support from "Israel-first" followers.
This leaves Jews on First virtually unchallenged in their campaign to subvert and de-Christianize the National Day of Prayer. This also leaves the National Prayer Network, and you, as the only opposition to yet another offensive by liberal Jewish activists to strip Christian America of its values, symbols and heritage.
The campaign by Jews on First can snowball in its effectiveness if their distorted point of view is all governors hear before May 1. Make your voice heard NOW. Send the following letter (perhaps as a petition with signatures from your church) to your governor:
In 1775 George Washington proclaimed the National Day of Prayer as a day to be participated in by all Americans. He wished members of all faiths to organize and promote this solemn and reverent occasion as they saw fit.
Many Christian organizations promote the National Day of Prayer from a Christian perspective. They encourage other faiths to similarly organize and participate in their own ways.
Yet some now accuse these Christian organizations of "discrimination" because they require their members to be Christian. These critics request governors to proclaim an "Inclusive National Day of Prayer" -- or issue no proclamation whatever!
Instead of changing the National Day of Prayer, these groups should organize their own National Day of Prayer committees, observing the National Day of Prayer in as they prefer.
This honors the wishes of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Truman, and Reagan, signers of National Day of Prayer proclamations.
Please do not amend your annual proclamation of the National Day of Prayer. Do not change either its title or the date, the 1st Thursday of May, since these were both established upon the wishes of our Presidents and Congresses. Thank you very much.
Highlights of the Pike's role in helping to reestablish the National Day of Prayer
Rev. Claude Pike, John Pike, Ted Pike prepare 1929 "Old Glory" Bellanca for publicity tour around America, drawing attention for the need to revive the National Day of Prayer.
"Old Glory" flies above towns and cities across America towing an aerial banner, with "PRAY FOR AMERICA" booming from a powerful amplifier.
"Old Glory" returns, laden with thousands of signed petitions calling upon the President to re-instate the National Day of Prayer.
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.
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Mail: P.O. Box 828, Clackamas, OR 97015
Email: Rev. Ted Pike, npntedpike [@] gmail.com