Mormons Complain About Prayer Day

As I am sure that we are all aware (or something), today is “A National Day of Prayer,” which has been an official national holiday since Harry Truman lead the pilgrim fathers to our sacred shores (in other words, the early 1950s). This year, The Washington Post breathlessly informs us, President Bush will be attending a ceremony run by “evangelical Christian leaders” (play sinister music here.) The most interesting part of the article, however, comes near the bottom, where The Post interviews those who feel left out of the protestant love fest at the White House. It says:

    In Salt Lake City, Mormons have complained that they are not allowed to lead prayers during the local observance.

No other details are provided. Any idea of who these folks might be? Has the Church PR department come out against “National Prayer Day,” or did Mormons for Equality and Social Justice manage to get themselves in The Post but not get themselves explicitly mentioned? (If so someone needs to talk to their press people.) Any insights here?

(link from Crescat Sententia)

11 comments for “Mormons Complain About Prayer Day

  1. Basically, the deal is that an Evangelical Association heads up the whole deal. And…they don’t allow “non-Evangelicals”. So…Mormons are out.

  2. Isn’t this what I’ve been saying for the past several months? People who push for religion in the public sphere typically have in mind a public endorsement of religion that excludes Mormons.

  3. I hardly see that your solution of having no National Day of Prayer at all is preferable.

  4. So…does that make Dobson (his wife is on the board for the group that doesn’t allow Mormons to “pray or conduct mtgs” on the national day of prayer) & the ACLU equally intolerant?

    Dobson only wants evangelicals in public.
    ACLU only wants secular humanism, atheism & non-western religions in the public sphere.
    In Michigan, folks don’t want the Muslim call to prayer put out over loudspeakers.

    I guess we could just ban all Free Speech…and then everyone could complain equally.

  5. Lyle – I think in the city of Hamtramack in Michigan,somefolks objected not to Muslims being allowed to call for prayers 5 times a day, but to their being allowed to broadcast their “Azaaan” five times a day on loudspeakers. However, the city Council allowed the Mosques to broadcast the Azaan over PA systems, despite protests from neighbors

  6. Righto’ O friend Ronin…I was just mixing things up a little bit to make it more interesting. I think the neighbors have a great point re: not wanting to “hear” the call to prayer (Azaan); esp. as it proclaims Mohammed to be a prophet.

    However…shouldn’t they have the right to do so? Wouldn’t evangelical street preachers have a fit if they couldn’t preach where they wanted to? at whatever noise level they wanted? At least the call to prayer is only 5 times a day (granted…one of those would be about 6am or so…)

  7. Wow, I want to live in Hamtramack for a while! I used to love to listen to the call to prayer! I think it’s so beautiful that they essentially sing hymns over a loudspeaker, from mosque after mosque all over the city — I mean, in Riyadh, where I lived for a few years.

    I don’t know anything about Dobson, but I don’t see how his organizing an evangelical prayer service on the national day of prayer in any way implies he is pushing for an establishment of evangelical protestantism. I don’t see why people can’t organize whatever kind of prayer service they want to. We Mormons had a prayer service after 9/11, and it was all our people, wasn’t it? Lots of different groups had their own prayer services and did them their way. That just seems the most normal thing ever. The only reason why it was remarkable is that in the past Mormons were included in this service. Interfaith prayer services are cool too but this just ain’t one of those; so what?

  8. I think the big message here is that non-members, particularly the Seventh Day Adventist pastor in the article, wouldn’t sit still for our being shut out, and voluntarily chose to pull out so they could be with us. I think that’s admirable, and encouraging. Not everyone falls for anti-mormon propaganda anymore, and when we truly live our religion and provide good examples, good people do want to associate with us.

  9. I allow everyone the right the pray in their own way and to vote their consciences. However, I personally do not trust the confluence of the power of the Evangelical and Fundamentalist right and the power of the political right that has control of the National Day of Prayer and a good deal more. I believe it is potentially bad for the country and bad for religion. The official “non-partisan” nature of the event notwithstanding, an investigation of the names behind the National Day of Prayer and the Bush-Cheney campaign reveals strong partisan links. For this and many other reasons, I am taking my vote and my prayers elsewhere.


    Leo Brown

  10. I think National Day of Prayer is a great thing and it should be allowed everywhere! No person should have to hide thier religion or what part of their religion they wish to show.

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