Washington (CNSNews.com) - Regardless of how the courts ultimately rule, organizers vow that there will be a National Day of Prayer (NDP) event next year.
NDP Task Force Executive Director John Bornschein told CNSNews.com that his team is already beginning to plan for next year’s event -- the 60th anniversary -- whether the courts agree to its existence or not.
In an interview Thursday at the Cannon House Office Building, CNSNews.com asked Bornschein if the National Day of Prayer is in danger.
“Not at all,” he said. “This has been a national heritage. Since 1775, Americans have been called to prayer. And right now the momentum is such that Americans will continue to pray.
“Statistics tell us that over 83 percent of Americans pray and we are hearing from a vast majority who say, ‘Whether this is civil disobedience – whatever we have to do, we are going to stand up for prayer for such a time as this.’ So we are fully expecting and continuing to plan the 60th anniversary, the 61st, and continue to keep this tradition alive.
“I believe it’s the government’s blessing to be a part of this, to continue in this tradition, but the grassroots movement is just too big now to squelch.”
A federal judge in Madison, Wis., last month overturned the law declaring National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional. At the same time, the Pentagon “disinvited” Franklin Graham, the event’s honorary chairman, from attending a military prayer event because of statements Graham had made in the past.
Graham’s treatment was merely “a discouraging bump,” according to Bornschein.
“We believe the relationship is still strong to continue to have National Day of Prayer events at the Pentagon,” he said. “They did have a National Day of Prayer (event), we’re grateful for that. The task force has been a welcomed guest at the Pentagon for many years. We pray that tradition continues. And next year, we believe they will be blessed to have our honorary chairman there again. Now should that change, well, like Franklin, you know, we’ll go outside the walls and pray.”
But when asked whether he thought President Obama supports the National Day of Prayer, Borenschein was more circumspect.
“I can’t speak for our president and his favor for or against the National Day of Prayer,” he said. “He has been honoring of the National Day of Prayer in giving us a proclamation declaring this the National Day of Prayer. That is honoring of the tradition -- and the law that asks him to do such.
“Now, whatever his personal interests are, we know he does the prayer breakfasts, and we’ve been told that he prays in private.
“Well, we’d like to see that become a little more public. We’d like to see him really embrace the National Day of Prayer and even call the nation to prayer outside of the first Thursday of May. That’s not out of tradition either. Many presidents have called for multiple National Days of Prayer.
“And frankly, our country needs prayer, now more than ever. With a seven-year high of unemployment, fighting wars on two fronts, I think the people would welcome a president who would be open and sincere to say, ‘We need your prayer, now today, more than ever.’