President Barack Obama has made a controversial decision about the National Day of Prayer, saying he wants to tone down the White House’s plans this year.
According to the Chicago Tribune, this has drawn fire from those who want the president to actively participate in the day. An Atheist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, wants him to call an end to the event.
The Obama administration is now seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the FFRF, which states that the tradition violates the separation of church and state.
The National Day of Prayer was set up back in 1952. In 1988 it was established that the sitting president would request people to pray on the first Thursday in May.
According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, President Obama will issue the request today, but that there will not be any public events with religious leaders.
Robert assured people that the president will pray privately and that his plans for the day are no different than those of past presidents.
However, that’s not what the National Day of Prayer Task Force was hoping to hear.
"We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama Administration," said Shirely Dobson, task force chairwoman. "At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our president would recognize more fully the importance of prayer."
The task force said that, last year, around 2 million people participated in the Day of Prayer at more than 40,000 events in honor of the event.
– Sonya Eskridge