National Day of Prayer on deck May 2

A little history on National Day of Prayer, slated for May 2 this year:

Held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation”. Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

The modern law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952, although it has historical origins to a mandate by George Washington, the first president of the United States.

On the National Day of Prayer, Americans from many religious backgrounds turn to God in prayer for the United States. Its constitutionality was unsuccessfully challenged in court by the Freedom From Religion Foundation after their first attempt was unanimously dismissed by a federal appellate court in April 2011.

“Pray For America” is the theme for this year’s prayer event, and eight different events are planned in York County.

“Now, more than ever before in our history, America needs prayer to be restored as the ‘shining city on the hill,’” said the Rev. Ken Gibson of Pleasant View Brethren in Christ in Red Lion.

The York Rescue Mission will host the kickoff event at 8 a.m. Other daytime sites include: 11 a.m. at the Human Life Services facility, 742 S. George. St., York; and noon at The Salvation Army, 124 S. Duke S., York; noon at Brown’s Orchard & Farm Market, 8892 Susquehanna Trail South, Springfield Township; and noon at the Shrewsbury YMCA, 100 Constitution Ave.

Several evening events are scheduled: 6:30 p.m. at the Mount Wolf Park, corner of Fourth and Maple streets, Mount Wolf; 7 p.m. at Dallastown Square in Dallastown; and 7 p.m. at Logos Academy, 250 W. King St. in York.

Prayers will be offered with various officials expected to attend. York Mayor Kim Bracey will welcome the gathering at Logos Academy, which will include music from the Logos Academy Choir.

Is National Day of Prayer appropriate for a country that values separation of church and state? Are you planning to attend any local events?

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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2 Responses to National Day of Prayer on deck May 2

  1. Dave Y says:

    Absolutely this is an inappropriate thing for the government to do. It should have stopped a long time ago, and it won’t last much longer. The only reason that FFRF did not prevail in their lawsuit is that they were not given standing. If they had been, the ruling would have gone in their favor. It is obviously unconstitutional for elected officials to encourage citizens to pray. That means the government is endorsing belief in a higher being, and by doing so relegating non-believers to a lower status. It is time to go back to the original secular intentions that our non-religous constitution spells out.

  2. Infidel1000 says:

    The NDP is probably the most egregious, blatant, and flagrant violation of the establishment clause in the history of this nation, followed by putting “In god we trust” on our money. It involves all the specificities named in it: Congress, law, respecting, establishment, religion. Judge Crabb had it right when she held it to violate the First amendment. By what convoluted logic did the Circuit Court overturn this slam-dunk? Who knows? Now, we have to wait and see if the religiously and politically right-wing Supreme Court will even her the case, much less put this ridiculous law in its grave, where it belongs. (Let’s not hold our breath). Then maybe someday the money can be fixed. But that would mean that this country must become considerably less ignorant and superstitious. I probably won’t live to see it, but maybe my kids will. One can only hope.

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