National Day of Prayer; America = Isra-El

President Obama will not be participating, and that’s certainly his right, but it surely does seem to me that with the nation facing one crisis after another – banking, auto, swine-flu, drought, war – a little prayer might do us good.

Oh, wait, right. All that stuff is basically over and we’re not hearing about any of it. The days of white-hot panic and catastrophe are over, for now. And we don’t need prayer because we have Obama.

Yes, that’s snarky; why not? This is America, land of liberty. I can still be snarky, right?

If the president doesn’t want to host a variety of religious folk in the White House, members of pretty much all the major faiths, he’s got the right to make that choice, and it is a respectable choice. He has also, apparently made a choice not to send letters of congratulations to Eagle Scouts or Girl Scouts receiving Gold awards, and that’s within his right, too.

But he’s clearly sending a message, and the message seems to be “believers not-so-welcome.” I know he’s kept the office of faith-based policy, but I suspect that’s only because he’s added the world “community” to that office. Much more legit, that way; one thinks those offices will see more ACORNs inside their walls than “religious nuts.”

It’s okay, you know. We are all Isra-El; we all “struggle with God,” including the president of a vast nation.

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking (but not writing) about Isra-El, the “struggles with God.” The name given to Jacob after he wrestled the angel. I’ve been wondering if Isra-El is all of us; if the piece of Holy Land is mere real estate compared to the Holy Land within ourselves, where God would reside, if we could truly permit it, and truly surrender.

Are we not all, then, Isra-El, for surely we all have “struggles with God” in our lives? Yes, all.

Pope Benedict XVI has said that when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, sitting in the conclave, realizing that in the next vote he would likely become the Vicar of Christ, he begged God; “please, don’t do this to me.” . . . He too, Isra-El. His struggles may be only of a moment, a nano-second of a no; he struggles, nonetheless.

President Obama is Isra-El, too.

So, if the president won’t publicly ask God to bless America, it’s really okay. The point is for all of us to do it, anyway, and not everyone is comfortable praying in public.

I’ll do it; I don’t mind. God bless President Obama, and I say that from my heart. God bless his wife and his lovely daughters. God bless the troops under his command, and the lives of every American affected by the stroke of his presidential pen. God bless all of our lawmakers and legislators and our judges, with wisdom, humility and a revulsion of corruption and dishonor. God bless and save our nation and her people, our farmers, our first responders, our nurses, teachers, carpenters, steel workers, miners and police. God bless us all, every one.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • YogusBearus

    In this instance, I am in agreement with the White House position. I much prefer some honesty from the President. Prayer/Christianity just isn’t his thing and we might as well get used to it.

    As I’m writing this, I’m listening to him tell again how he is going to cut the deficit in half over the next four years. It would be nice if this honesty would apply in other areas…

  • http://opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com lsusportsfan

    I think the article you links is interesting because the reporter is trying to did a ball a little on how long Presidents have been doing these events.

    For instance it states
    “For the past eight years, the White House recognized the National Day of Prayer with a service in the East Room, but this year, President Obama decided against holding a public ceremony.”

    and

    “Asked if Obama thought his predecessor’s ceremonies were politicized, Gibbs said, “No, I’m not going to get into that again.”

    But then later on we find

    “Under the Bush administration, the White House hosted an interfaith service each year, inviting protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders for an event at the East Room.
    President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush also marked the day with a White House observance.”

    Did not Clinton also observe it too. I see to recall that Mother Teresa was at Prayer breakfast and Clinton was there and I can recall him being at other events marking the day

  • YogusBearus

    Misdirection from the reporter? Say it ain’t so…

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  • http://jscafenette.com Jeanette

    He didn’t want religious people in the WH because we’re all terrorists!

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  • http://www.catholicpillowfight.com Tony

    “He has also, apparently made a choice not to send letters of congratulations to Eagle Scouts or Girl Scouts receiving Gold awards, and that’s within his right, too.”

    Do you have a cite for this? I looked all over the internet and I couldn’t find it.

    [Nope. That's why I say "apparently." I know of 4 Eagle Scouts this year who received no response from the WH. Got notes from the SecState. - admin]

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