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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Newsmax Ignores Full Story on Day of Prayer Controversy
Topic: Newsmax

An April 26 Newsmax article by David Patten is a retelling of the controversy over Rev. Franklin Graham being removed from the Pentagon's observance of the National Day of Prayer that's heavy on criticism of the decision, nearly bereft of supporters of it, and completely silent on the real issue.

Patten makes a big deal out of the National Day of Prayer Task Force apparently also be excluded from the even (according to a"well-placed source at the National Day of Prayer task force"), but he doesn't explain why that might be.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force is not the ecumenical group Patten suggests is; according to Wikipedia, the task force is based at Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's wife, Shirley Dobson, is its chairwoman. John Bornschein, the group's executive director, is also affiliated with Focus on the Family. A co-chairman is Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. Franklin Graham is an honorary chairman.

Those groups are all hardline evangelical Christian groups. While the vast majority of Americans call themselves Christian, evangelical Christians make up as little as 7 percent of or as much as one-quarter of total Christians, defending on how you define it. Unsurprisingly, the National Day of Prayer has been criticized for not only excluding non-Christians but also non-evangelical Christians. Indeed, NDP volunteer coordinators are required to indicate whether their lives reflect a belief statement that begins: "I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God."

The task force's list of "Vision and Values" begins with a goal to "Foster unity within the Christian Church." That arguably has no place in government-observed days of prayer.

Mere attacks on Islam by Graham would seem to not be the only issue -- there's also the question of the evangelical litmus test the NDP task force imposes on its supporters, which would seem to run counter to a day of prayer that's supposed to be inclusive of all religions.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 AM EDT

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