Some off the top of my head thoughts after hearing some pundit comments this morning.
Call me, well whatever, but I feel that politics and religion should be separate. I don’t go to church services to hear political messages that endorse or oppose a specific candidate, piece of legislation, or a governmental ideology. To me a good sermon is one that causes people to ponder and to reflect. The preacher presents an idea and does so in a way that encourages you to want to discover more.
Likewise, I oppose politicians who make it their mission to include extended specific religious ideology in their addresses to their constituents or voters from whom they seek support. I’m not debating faith versus works, but on the political spectrum campaign and legislate your faith by your works and not by your words proclaiming that you have faith.
I’m sort of a Golden Ruler in that I feel like if we would all just treat people in the same manner as we would hope others would treat us if our roles, responsibilities, and feet were in fact staring right back at us. My own spirituality is personal. Personally, I believe in a God, a son who died on the cross, and a Holy Spirit. Each are different, but yet are one and the same. I can neither prove nor deny existence without utilizing faith to explain what I think are wondrous miracles of beauty. It’s true that I can break down some things that I attribute to faith into concise tangible bits that can be seen by all, but to me the sum is often even greater than the individual parts no matter how magnificent those pieces may be.
That’s only a miniscule portion of an abstract that in itself would be a tome trying to summarize what would be a never-ending continual series of manuscripts about my personal beliefs.
What brings me here are the statements being made by politicians, pundits, and so many people about the National Day of Prayer for victims and response to Hurricane Harvey created by Presidential Proclamation. I see nothing wrong with such an idea, and nothing wrong with such a proclamation, but I do want and expect more from any President or Congress than a mere proclamation or words because action is needed for assistance, recovery, and rebuilding.
Rescue in my opinion starts with the local. Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, Mayors, aldermen, councils, police juries, and the local leaders are the ones who need to oversee operations on the ground in their respective neck of the woods. They know the area and the people. State and Federal should provide equipment, manpower, and other resources to assist, but they should not step on the feet of those who know what needs to be done in that specific locality. Helping to coordinate to keep everyone on the same page is one thing, but usurping the authority from those most knowledgeable and connected to the area and those people in dire need is another.
Specifically in regard to the Presidential Proclamation, I think it is a positive. Such a proclamation, however, is not unique. If all people were doing was to promote the proclamation, I wouldn’t be responding. What’s happening, however, is specific ideological media and pundits are turning this into political rhetoric and attempting to demean and belittle others in order to make their own status appear higher and superior. That divisive BS irritates me. They’re trying to equate religion and politics, and when someone questions or disagrees the deniers either become the targeted or are barraged with this juvenile behavior of “so and so did it, so why are you outraged now?”
One, two wrongs don’t make a right, and many of us were outraged back then but you were not because it wasn’t as interesting and sensational as the plethora of really stupid and far-fetched claims being pitched in opposition at the time.
Trump’s proclamation is correct that we have a long history of such days of prayer and reflection in this country and on the continent. He cited the Constitutional Congress which makes sense, but he could have also cited earlier in colonial history. Both are accurate.
The concept is tradition, and President Washington and President Adams called for National Days of Prayer. I have not fact checked, but I believe the next president to call for a National Day of Prayer would have been Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, so you have a gap of approximately 60 years. It wasn’t because the US became anti-prayer or anti-reflection; it’s because unless I’m mistaken historically none of the presidents issued any “formal” declarations during the period. The time-period is not one of my regular research areas.
Now I can say without historical reservation that President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution passed on 17 April 1952 for a National Day of Prayer and issued a proclamation for such on 17 June 1952.
36 U.S. Code § 119 – National Day of Prayer designating a specific day can be found below.
As president, Donald Trump followed this decree with his own proclamation on 4 May 2017.
He is neither the first nor the last, if we remain under the Constitution, US President to call for additional days for catastrophic natural disasters, accidents, or horrific events.
Barack Obama’s proclamations for National Prayer Day read similar to Trump’s and past presidents. No, Obama did not cancel any. A few examples below:
When he spoke of prayer and reflection following such horrific events as the murdering of the children at Sandy Hook, some opponents deemed and still assert that massacre was a hoax. Other opponents asserted that Obama was confiscating guns.
From an academic research perspective, if someone in the future were to read right-wing media articles and pundits remarks, it is a sad fact that they might come to the conclusion that decent, working class, “common” people not on TV or talk radio and who did not vote for Obama were happy as can be that these innocent children were murdered. The truth is the exact opposite of course, but that’s how much influence the extremes have on society, and future generations will have a tough time figuring that out when doing true historical research.
Just an aside for all the pundits and media who still argue that Obama was anti-Christian and anti-prayer and so on: Groups have challenged the National Day of Prayer signed by Harry Truman and the issuance of future proclamations coming from the White House. In the court case that remains the deciding case about the legality, who was the defendant on the side of prayer?
That defendant was then President Barack Obama back in the year 2010:
With prayers, kind thoughts, sympathy, hopes to offer encourage and to assist with recovery and rebuilding, for all impacted by this tropical system and other natural disasters, I am.
A Non-related aside:
We have a new member of the LAB LouisianaBoy Household. My wife and I have returned from overseas with our 9-year-old son. It was a trip with both highs and lows. The highs are obvious, but the low was that while overseas my Dad passed away back home in Louisiana. It was a tough time emotionally, but I knew that Dad wanted me overseas to pick up his grandson. In the coming days, I’ll try to come up with a few words as a tribute to Dad. While he never got to meet his grandson face-to-face, he is here with us in spirit, I’ll try my best to teach my son as Dad taught me. Dad will continue to live on through both me and my son along with all the people he touched during a full lifetime. K&B has another of its old-school managers in Heaven.
I have never sought or accepted any payment or donations for this blog. My position hasn’t changed, but if anyone would still like to make a monetary donation to help us with the airfare costs or other expenses associated with adoption, I will be keeping this PayPal donation account open for short period. As I said on previous posts, any donation is appreciated but certainly not necessary to continue reading or interacting with me on this forum.