Q. The S&P downgraded America’s credit ranking, the country remains engaged in two wars, millions are unemployed and approval ratings for Congress are at historic lows.
It was against this backdrop that Texas Governor Rick Perry held The Response, a prayer event in which he prayed for the economy, among other areas of “darkness” in America.
In a critique of the revival, Frank Bruni wrote in his New York Times column that when it comes to fixing out country’s problems, “faith and prayer just won’t cut it. In fact, they’ll get in the way.”
Is Bruni right?
A. Frank Bruni is entitled to his opinion. After all, it’s a free country. However, he is out of step with the beliefs and worldview of the vast majority of Americans both today and throughout our history.
Americans have always been a substantially religious people. Since the founding of the U.S., America’s leaders have called for days of prayer and thanksgiving. President George Washington did precisely this in issuing an official proclamation for the new nation to give thanksgiving to God for His many interventions in the Revolutionary War and the formation of the states under the new U.S. Constitution.
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams all made statements that God should be called upon for intervention in the affairs of the American nation.
Indeed, prior to the nation’s founding, our Puritan forefathers often called for days of prayer and repentance in times of crisis in the Colonial era. In the midst of our greatest national crisis, President Lincoln often appealed to God for intervention and for the nation to pray for divine intercession.
In the 20th Century, President Roosevelt prayed on behalf of the American people for God to intervene and bless the Normandy landings during a national radio broadcast on June 6, 1944. Just nine years later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took the occasion of his inauguration on Jan. 20, 1953 to pray to God for wisdom and guidance in the conduct of his office.
Is it any wonder that Sen. Lieberman, having scrutinized our nation’s history, proclaimed that America has been a “faith-based initiative” from the beginning, further noting that any attempts to try to separate the vast majority of Americans from their deeply held religious convictions is both an “unnatural and unnecessary act”?
Suffice it to say, a significant majority of Americans, both past and present, would vehemently disagree with Mr. Bruni’s assessment that “faith and prayer…get in the way” in solving the nation’s problems.
Richard Land | Aug 10, 2011 5:30 PM