Source: Religion News Service
Every year between 2001 and 2008, former President Bush's calendar was cleared on the first Thursday in May to mark the National Day of Prayer in the White House East Room with prominent evangelicals.
Now the Obama White House is facing questions of inside-the-Beltway etiquette: Should Obama maintain the open door to conservative critics like James and Shirley Dobson, and if so, should they accept?
Or, will the White House have an official observance at all?
With those questions unanswered less than three weeks before the annual observance, the National Day of Prayer Task Force headed by Shirley Dobson is moving ahead with other plans.
"We're not the coordinators of that event," said Brian Toon, vice chairman of the task force. "That's controlled completely by the White House. We have been honored to be guests at the event in the past, but we have not heard a peep from them."
In years past, Toon said, a White House liaison has contacted the ministry at least a month in advance to ask about their participation in the White House events that featured music, Scripture readings and remarks by the president and Shirley Dobson.
She and her husband, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, were seated prominently in the front row next to the president and first lady.
The White House, which usually does not officially announce events until shortly before they occur, declined to comment on whether it would even hold an event this year, much less who would be invited.