Here's President Obama's declaration about a truly interfaith Day of Prayer, and the response from the Interfaith Alliance.
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2009
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2009
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Throughout our Nation's history, Americans have come
together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble
themselves in prayer. In 1775, as the Continental Congress
began the task of forging a new Nation, colonists were asked to
observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer. Almost a century
later, as the flames of the Civil War burned from north to
south, President Lincoln and the Congress once again asked the
American people to pray as the fate of their Nation hung in the
It is in that spirit of unity and reflection that we once
again designate the first Thursday in May as the National Day
of Prayer. Let us remember those who came before us, and let
us each give thanks for the courage and compassion shown by so
many in this country and around the world.
On this day of unity and prayer, let us also honor the
service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States
Armed Forces. We celebrate their commitment to uphold our
highest ideals, and we recognize that it is because of them that
we continue to live in a Nation where people of all faiths can
worship or not worship according to the dictates of their
Let us also use this day to come together in a moment of
peace and goodwill. Our world grows smaller by the day, and
our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and
comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife; and
to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. As we observe
this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great
religions together: the Golden Rule, and its call to love one
another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity
and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called
on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating
the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 2009, as
a National Day of Prayer. I call upon Americans to pray in
thanksgiving for our freedoms and blessings and to ask for God's
continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the
two hundred and thirty-third.
Interfaith Alliance Praises President’s
National Day of Prayer Proclamation
Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the proclamation issued this afternoon by President Obama for the National Day of Prayer:
President Obama did the right thing today by issuing a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer that is inclusive of all Americans. We must cherish the freedom in this country to pray or not to pray.
The reality is that we don’t need our elected leaders to instruct us in the ways of religion just as we don’t need our religious leaders to tell us for whom to vote. However, if we are going to have such a day, I am glad to see that this president understands that it should be inclusive.
Interfaith Alliance, along with Jews on First, sent a letter to the president in April calling for him to support an inclusive day of prayer and reject the exclusionist version supported by Shirley Dobson’s so-called National Day of Prayer Task Force.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit http://www.interfaithalliance.org/.