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Brouhaha brewing over National Day of Prayer


A "Liberty Council" is attempting to intimidate local officials into participating in the National Day of Prayer.

According to The Village Gate:

The Christian Right press is reporting that Matt Staver of "Liberty Counsel," has issued a warning to governmental officials who fail to participate in the National Day of Prayer:

Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver warns that government officials who try to curtail activities in observance of the National Day of Prayer could face legal action. "One of the things that we will ensure this year is that the NDOP gets equal treatment and equal access," he says.

Liberty Counsel is an organization that advertises its close relationship with Jerry Falwell and James Dobson. Dobson's wife is the chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force along with honorary chairman, Oliver North. North's book, True Freedom, is featured prominently in Task Force materials promoting its theme for the day, "Let Freedom Ring."

Staver is insisting that federal, state and local government officials gather and pray on the NDOP:

However, Staver says the nationwide observance was set aside as a time for the people, including mayors and other governmental leaders, to gather at various meetings and to acknowledge God and pray. "They shouldn't be intimidated by the ACLU, and certainly governments should not censor the National Day of Prayer," he says.

And Staver points out that many past efforts to interfere with observances of the NDOP have failed. There have been several situations, he says, "where cities have either tried to ban National Days of Prayer, or where the ACLU has threatened suits to stop the National Day of Prayer, or where its observance has been allowed to go on, but NDOP activities have not had equal access in public forums as other secular meetings have."

Nevertheless, those past efforts to curb the observance of the NDOP have always been unsuccessful, and the Liberty Counsel attorney says any public officials who try to do so this year will find themselves on the losing end of a legal battle.

The Village Gate is sponsoring a letter writing campaign to government officials and editors and across the country decrying the way that the Christian Right has hijacked the National Day of Prayer. Sample letters are linked below.


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