National Day of Prayer Events Likely to be Divisive

April 27, 2006

Source: Americans United For Separation of Church and State

On April 27, 2006 Americans United For Separation of Church and State reported, "Religious Right leaders and politicians are using the National Day of Prayer (NDP) to politicize religion and divide Americans, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The annual event, which takes place by federal law on the first Thursday of each May, gives Religious Right groups and their allies in public office a platform to push their political agenda, Americans United charges. In recent years, religious broadcaster James Dobson and his wife Shirley have assumed a leadership role in promoting the observance. Dobson’s Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action are Religious Right organizations that oppose church-state separation and seek to impose a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint through government action... [the Rev. Barry W.] Lynn [executive director of Americans United] added that most NDP activities are now coordinated by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a private group headed by Shirley Dobson. This year, as in years past, the NDP Task Force is distributing materials promoting an inaccurate 'Christian nation' view of history and distorting federal court rulings upholding church-state separation... The NDP Task Force encourages local groups to exclude non-fundamentalist Christians from NDP events."