Dobson, Republicans Scold Obama on Prayer Day
By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Evangelical author and radio host James Dobson said that he is "disappointed" that for the first time in nearly two decades there was no representative from the White House during the National Day of Prayer event.
"I have not asked to meet with the president and certainly he has not asked to meet with me, but I would just like this country to remember its foundation, to remember its heritage and honor it, especially on the day set aside by George Washington in the beginning for prayer in this country," he said. "And I would hope that that would have occurred."
Dobson and his wife were organizers of a four-hour program on Capitol Hill marking the nationwide day designated by Congress as a day of prayer, which brought together members of Congress, military leaders, ministers and an NFL star.
During a news conference following the event, Rep J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) also expressed his disappointment with the White House for skipping what he said was supposed to be a bipartisan event. In the end, it wound up heavily skewed toward the GOP side of the aisle.
"The national day of prayer is important for people all across the country and I think the president missed a wonderful opportunity," he said. "...Not only did he not have any ceremony himself, he did not send any representatives from the White House to this event."
The White House released a proclamation from the president about the day early this afternoon, asking Americans to come together in the "spirit of unity and reflection."
"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," President Obama wrote, adding later: "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 Earth."
The White House did not directly address Dobsons's comments.
However, a White House source with direct knowledge of the situation, said event organizers placed restrictions on potential speakers saying that they had to be "pro-life" and the only person officially invited from the administration was Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican.
May 7, 2009; 4:26 PM ET
God in Government
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