National Day of Prayer 2013: Some pray on May 2, others celebrate National Day of Reason 2013

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comMay 1, 2013 

Are you celebrating National Day of Prayer, National Day of Reason or neither?

May 2 marks the National Day of Prayer, a government-proclaimed day that encourages Americans "to celebrate their faith through prayer," according to the event's official website.

It notes the National Day of Prayer "was established as an annual event by an act of Congress in 1952 and was signed into law by President Truman." In 1988, President Reagan designated the first Thursday in May each year as the National Day of Prayer, the website adds.

Here's an excerpt from President Obama's 2013 National Day of Prayer proclamation: "All of us have the freedom to pray and exercise our faiths openly. Our laws protect these God-given liberties, and rightly so." Read the full proclamation here.

Not everyone's happy about it.

While some people pray, others will participate in the National Day of Reason -- a celebration led by critics of the National Day of Prayer. The event is also held on the first Thursday in May each year.

Organizers of the National Day of Reason argue, "The Supreme Court has made it clear (and most Americans agree) that state sponsored prayer in school is inappropriately exclusionary. Why is a nationally sponsored day of prayer any more inclusive?"

They add, "Freedom of expression and worship, including the opportunity to pray or not pray as we wish, are already present without government endorsement. There is no need to set-aside a public day for prayer."

Discussion time: Do we need a National Day of Prayer?

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