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Partisan Misfocus

Last week brought the annual "National Day of Prayer." It sure was nice of our government to help us scratch prayer off our to-do-list for the year! I am not a fan of the initiative not because I do not think prayer is important but precisely because I think prayer is important (see earlier post). The effort, which comes with a official governmental declaration, is a problematic governmental interference in religion. Additionally, the effort has often been politicized, which transforms prayer into a partisan tool. Sadly, this year brought even more partisanship.

During the official National Day of Prayer rally on Capitol Hill, conservative evangelical leader James Dobson took the stage not to pray, but to blast President Barack Obama. With fiery (and inaccurate) remarks, he labeled Obama "the abortion president" and falsely claimed Obamacare forces Americans to pay for abortions. Dobson, who has sued the federal government to make inaccurate claims about Obamacare based on abortion and religious liberty, then declared:
So come and get me, Mr. President, if you must. I will not yield to your wicked regulations!
While such red-meat rhetoric might bring cheers from conservatives, it does a disservice to the sacred act of prayer. Democratic Representative Janice Hahn, a Christian who has led bipartisan congressional Christian events, left the National Day of Prayer gathering due to Dobson's remarks, which she called a "hateful political rant." As I noted in my first book (For God's Sake, Shut Up!), Dobson does better when he focuses on the family instead of on politics.

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