Biden's proclamation of National Day of Prayer omits the word 'God'
When the Biden presidency does something odd, it is impossible to read the event the same way the actions of previous presidents could be examined. We never know if a doddering mediocrity has once again misspoken or if some nameless handler is implementing a plan that is part of the transformation of America being foisted upon us with a bare majority in Congress.
At least we know that yesterday's official Proclamation on National Day of Prayer was not a Biden verbal gaffe of the sort we are already well accustomed to. In its 470 words, not once did the word "God" appear, something that might be somewhat understandable in a spontaneous speech. The proclamation was a document drafted by some staffer, even though it is signed at the bottom "Joseph R. Biden." (Not only is that normal for presidents, but Biden has a long history of claiming others' words as his own.)
Franklin Graham, one of many religious leaders to take disapproving note, "speculated that the proclamation might have been written by a staffer and not even reviewed by Biden, saying 'I don't think Joe Biden would approve that one.'" He might well be correct that Biden didn't bother reading it. My take on the man is that he spends his time resting and husbanding his energies, not endlessly reviewing documents and editing them to improve them. But that raises the question of who did write it, and why omit naming the Deity to whom one prays?
But do all who pray direct their prayers to God? We hope those who exercise power at the highest level of government do worship The Lord, but my confidence in that proposition has waned of late.
'Omitting God is a dangerous thing. He is who we as individuals and as a nation need to call on for help,' Graham wrote in a Facebook post. 'Prayers to anyone or anything else are to no avail.'
The U.K. Daily Mail's account of the kerfuffle includes this troublesome assertion:
Biden, a devout Catholic, typically ends his public remarks with the phrase 'May God bless you all, and God protect our troops' — but his proclamation for Thursday's Day of Prayer contained no such acknowledgement of a higher power.
I am not a Catholic and can't stand in judgment of Biden's adherence to his faith, but it is well known that he does not follow his church's teaching on the sanctity of life. So I am not certain that the word "devout" is appropriate. On the other hand, Biden also claims to be a "moderate" while foisting a radical transformation upon our polity, so maybe we just take it as a matter of course that he employs false labels as a matter of strategy.
Still, it is downright odd, and a huge contrast with his predecessors:
By law, the president is required to issue a proclamation declaring the observance, and prior proclamations from Barack Obama and Donald Trump contained multiple references to God.
Trump's invocation of God in the proclamations increased over the course of his term, with five mentions in 2017 and 2018, seven in 2019, and a staggering 12 in 2020.
All of Obama's proclamations mentioned God at least once, and some as many as three times.
May The Lord protect us from those who command government powers in the name of anyone else.
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