From the Religion News Service:
In years past,…a White House liaison has contacted the [National Day of Prayer Task Force headed by Shirley Dobson] 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.
“Prayer is very important to the president’s life,” said Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, on Sunday (April 19). “It’s too early to talk about the planning around that.”
What will Obama do? Will he refuse to hold a National Day of Prayer ceremony at all? This seems unlikely given how badly he has courted the votes of Catholics and evangelical Christians. Will he embrace the Religious Right as he did by inviting Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration?
Or will he celebrate the National Day of Prayer from a multi-faith perspective? Such an approach would be in keeping with his statement in his inaugural address: “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers.”
Well the National Day of Prayer is just weeks away. Stay tuned for more coverage of this issue here.