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Dobson 'Disappointed' Obama Skipped Day of Prayer Ceremony

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Updated 7:14 p.m.
By Hamil R. Harris
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.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 7, 2009; 2:02 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Religion  
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Comments

I would expect this from a Muslim.
Take that anyway you want!!!

This is a Christian country; Don't like it, LEAVE!

"TexRancher" - Why am I not surprised?

Don't you and your friend Rick Perry have an appointment with Mexico?

Posted by: jeyges | May 13, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Some Christians these days have not been acting very Christianlike. Why would Obama want to be some of these?

Posted by: Victoria5 | May 9, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

We are not a Christian Nation, the evangelicals made it one!

Posted by: nursehope | May 8, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Religion is divisive, it shouldn't be but it is. It does not bring us together it pushes us further apart.

Posted by: nursehope | May 8, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This wouldn't be the same "Dr." Dobson who utterly misconstrued and distorted Obama's cogent statement on the meaning of religion in a pluralistic society, calling it "confused theology," would it?

From a WAPO opinion piece last summer (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062702490.html):

"If Christian conservatives want to be taken seriously, they need to make serious arguments and speak with intellectual integrity. In this instance, Dobson didn't. He has set back his cause and made some of us who are evangelicals and conservatives wince."

by Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former deputy assistant to President Bush.

Posted by: abqcleve | May 8, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Poo wittle Jimmy is upset that no one give's a rat's a$$ about the Kwischin right anymore. Good bye and good riddance.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | May 8, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

LibertyHops:

James Dobson does not think that he is God (and he's not "The One" who said in a campaign ad "The Light will shine down from somewhere. It will shine upon you. You will experience an epiphany and you will say to yourself 'I have to vote for Barack'").

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Keep Me out of your country's politics. You "Christians" really tick me off. Don't make me come down there!

GOD

Posted by: Godhimself1 | May 8, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Those who portend to be eminently Christian are not. Barack Obama shows more class by NOT going to your gathering to pay homage to the 'power brokers of Christ' club. Jesus wouldn't have gone either.

Posted by: PulSamsara | May 8, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

James Dobson seems to think that he IS GOD.

I guess he THINKS he is in a position to tell The President of the United States how to pray.

He is Barack Obama's god too, and LIKE HELL if YOU have THE RIGHT to tell HIM how YOU THINK he should pray to HIS GOD!

Well guess what you EGOTISTICAL BLOWHARD?

You don't have that authority neither by position, nor implied,

NOBODY DOES!

Get this through YOUR THICK HEAD Mr. Dobson,

YOU ARE NOT GOD!

So STOP PLAYING GOD!

You are nothing but a sad little man with an overblown ego.

The President of the United States of America may be too nice to call you out for the PHONEY THAT YOU ARE,,,,
but sorry Mr. Dodson,
I'm NOT THAT NICE!

James Dobson Shames TRUE CHRISTIANS everytime he opens HIS FOWL MOUTH!

Posted by: LibertyHops | May 8, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Allow me to say a Prayer in dedication to him(Well, at least in relation to him!);

For Him! :-)

Dear Heavenly Father;

Make Barack GO AWAY!

He must be needed desperately anywhere else other than the
Executive Seat he is currently Burdened with!

So Please, Ohhhh PAHLEEZE!;

Help him find any other calling!

Amen!

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 8, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Yeah Notre Dame!

Defend your moronic decision to invite this Abortionist AGAIN!

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 7, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

So, why wasn't Secretary LaHood sent?

Posted by: JakeD | May 7, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

er, non-republican-affiliated groups, I should say. Or even non-christian, I assume they don't have a monopoly on prayer.

Posted by: louis7 | May 7, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

nodebris, excellent post. The "national day of prayer" seems to be a loyalty oath to the republican party. Are there any non-conservative republican groups "disappointed" by the President's decision?

Posted by: louis7 | May 7, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"

I would expect this from a Muslim.
Take that anyway you want!!!

This is a Christian country; Don't like it, LEAVE!
"

How about this, texrancher. I don't like you. How about you leave?

Posted by: tuibguy | May 7, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

eeverettm said: "In the end of days, there is one coming that will deceive them and lead them astray"

That someone is Dobson, not Obama.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | May 7, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama doesn't pray to Dobson's god Satan.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | May 7, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

"
I would expect this from a Muslim.
Take that anyway you want!!!

This is a Christian country; Don't like it, LEAVE!

Posted by: TexRancher | May 7, 2009 6:41 PM
"

This country's predominant religion is Christianity, but its government is not. As Madison put it, "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." That is not to say Madison was not a religious man, or that he didn't firmly believe in living a moral life through faith in God. Madison was, in fact, deeply religious, but he understood that government corrupts religion.

Religion is a private practice to be held as a most fundamental right of its citizenry. The government is duty bound to protect all people of all religions and their right to worship freely and at the same time never restrict worship with the exception of equally applied laws, e.g. you cannot steal cars in the name of some religion.

In that sense, the government is not Christian and that is a good thing. If you have some sort of issue with this, perhaps you should consider how Christianity has flourished in this country - perhaps you could look at statistics on Church attendance in industrialized countries and find that we are at the top.

I would also say we are not a Christian nation, but a nation of free worship. Consider the cruel treatment of early Christians, how much would they have welcomed such a concept, that they could practice and preach their beliefs without fear or reprisal. They would have freely given the state its autonomy, while government has no soul to save, the people that live under it do.

In that light, a toned down, humble, introspective experience without the celebrity preachers or the fanfare is just what we need on a day such as today.

Posted by: tweldy | May 7, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Too bad for Dobson. I'm "disappointed" that he and his fellow right wing extremists supported Bush 'the torturer' and an illegal war in Iraq. I'm "disappointed" that so many of his fellow evangelicals ignore most of the bible and focus on a few divisive parts to the detriment of America.

I'm not "disappointed" that Obama is undoing the worst excesses of the Republican Party policies.

Posted by: thebobbob | May 7, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't the US separate Church and State?

Posted by: alysheba_3 | May 7, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I would expect this from a Muslim.
Take that anyway you want!!!

This is a Christian country; Don't like it, LEAVE!

Posted by: TexRancher | May 7, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

When are we going to meet Dobson's gay lover?

Posted by: goexplode | May 7, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

just kidding!

Posted by: LKYDude | May 7, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

You people are whacked. You're basing your life around a book someone found in the desert.

Posted by: LKYDude | May 7, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

so....

Posted by: stomsdaughter | May 7, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm always amazed at how evangelicals will bypass a quote where Jesus directly addresses a particular issue, in order to find some other quote that is not on topic but which they can "interpret" to mean something other than what Jesus directly stated on the topic, as it suits their whims.

Mac_sean provides an illuminating example.

Posted by: nodebris | May 7, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama is ashamed of the Christian religion.
Why do you think he can't find a church in the D.C. area? Jesus says:"If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you. If you deny me in front of Men, I will deny you!" Action speaks louder than Words.

Posted by: eeverettm | May 7, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Dobson is not interested in prayer. He is interested in his reputation and career. It is a mark of his character to note that he seeks to further his own personal agenda by attacking the religious practices of the President of the United States.

Did not our ancestors found this Country based on FREEDOM of religion? That included the FREEDOM to pratice religion as we choses not as dictated by some political zealot like Dobson.

Posted by: FromtheRaft | May 7, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"For you will always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have Me"- Mark 14:7 [Jesus speaking to His disciples]
My point: Jesus acknowledged that honoring Him is the greatest priority above any other kind of service. If we continue to fail to do so as a nation we will fall. Pluralism may be the growing attitude, but the truth is still the truth and the majority is not a measure of what is right.
God and His Word are, which is why we need to pray to Him as a nation. Public prayer is not synonymous with hypocritical prayer. Pluralism which is dogmatically closed-minded to truth, but tolerant of every kind of lie is.

Posted by: Mc_sean | May 7, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama wants to destroy the foundation of what America was founded on. God said he would permit it: "In the end of days, there is one coming that will deceive them
and lead them astray"...This is the prelude to the great arrival of the Anti-christ who will be coming on the scene when things get much worse!
As for Obama, he needs to keep in mind that he is not the Savior, that Pride goes before a great fall. He talks out of both sides of his mouth and we can see thru him.

Posted by: eeverettm | May 7, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

good for Obama, everyone before was afraid of this phoney day!
the rule is anything dobson the hypocrite is against is good!

Posted by: philosopherkingtomas | May 7, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I believe that if Dr. Dobson and others like him, including the members of the GOP, would do less fault finding and more of what Christ actually taught people to do, they and the world would be much better off. I don't see the example of Christ in any of them, but I certainly see it in the statement issued by President Obama concerning this issue.

I wonder if Dr. Dobson has to celebrate Crhistmas in order to believe that Jesus lived.

Posted by: green5 | May 7, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This event is nothing but an ostentatious display of political posturing for evangelicals. Just a way for them to feel relevant. Comments like these are nothing more than an emotional appeal to a specific political base to insight knee jerk response. Stop saying this is a Christian nation. Many of our Founding Fathers were unapologetic agnostics, who would be appalled by such a concept. Just because evangelical leaders say we are a Christian nation doesn't make it so. When reading the writings of Madison, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin it is more than apparent that we were never intended to be a Christian nation.

Posted by: esb420 | May 7, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It's refreshing to hear an read such informed comments. What a change

Posted by: c-roubiq | May 7, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to President Obama for recognizing that the Day of Prayer observation has been hijacked by evangelicals like Dobson giving no recognition to the great variety of religious expressions that are representative of our pluralistic nation. Note here the attempt on the part of other religious groups to have an "inclusive day of prayer" as opposed to this exclusively evangelical prayer fest.

http://www.inclusiveprayerday.org/

Posted by: jbrinkmeyer | May 7, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men." Matthew 6:5

I thank God for President Obama, because he acts like a TRUE Christian, instead of just saying he is one, like too many self-righteous and deluded evangelicals.

Posted by: elizabeth12 | May 7, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

“Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6).

Posted by: nodebris | May 7, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to Congress, I'll pray when my faith and conscience call me to pray, not when political leaders ask me to.

There are many other ways I can remember and honor my nation's heritage that needn't blur the line between religious practice and patriotic observance. The National Day of Prayer is a problematic mix of patriotism and piety. Patriotism and piety are good on their own, but when mixed we risk confusing God and Country ... to the detriment of both.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | May 7, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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