By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent
WASHINGTON, USA (Worthy News)– International Christian broadcaster GOD Television was to air Thursday, May 6, the United States’ National Day of Prayer (NDP), amid concerns among Christians that the annual event may be banned following a controversial court ruling.
A federal judge in Wisconsin, Judge Barbara Crabb, wrote last month that the NDP violated the constitution. She said the government can no more enact laws “supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.
In fact, Crabb wrote, “it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individuals decision whether and when to pray.”
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has countered that the statute simply acknowledges the role of religion in the country. Obama issued a proclamation last year but did not hold public events with religious leaders as former President George W. Bush had done.
Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the day violated the separation of church and state.
Tthis year’s theme NDP theme is ‘For such a time as this’ based on Bible verse Nahum 1:7: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”
GOD TV said in a statement that viewers of the 2010 National Observance in Washington D.C will be encouraged to “participate in powerful prayers of intercession for America and all those in authority by various Christian leaders.”
They will also be invited to sign an on-line petition “to save the National Day of Prayer,” added GOD TV co-founder Wendy Alec.
Hosted by NDP Task Force Chairman, Shirley Dobson, the three-hour broadcast was to include an address by Evangelist Franklin Graham, the Task Force’s Honorary Chairman.
“Unfortunately, the heritage of prayer in our nation has come under unrelenting assault,” said Shirley Dobson in a statement. “The National Day of Prayer dates back to 1775 and it is not for a judge to take away. We the people called for the day of prayer and for 59 years we have practiced our freedom to gather and pray,” she explained.
“It is time to say, ‘Enough is enough’. We ask the American people to defend the right to pray. We can be silent no more,” Dobson added.
It comes amid concerns reports of attacks against openly devoted Christians in the United States, following the killing of two evangelists earlier this year and attacks against churches and pastors. (AMERICA WATCH of Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife’ is a regular look at what rights groups and other activists view as the rapidly changing Christian climate in the United States).