I met a dear friend through the internet when I left a short message correcting an item she had posted. She did not take well to the short, terse note and we had a long explanatory exchange that led to friendship.
I think it’s time to make another correction, to a much wider audience. You’ve probably read the e-mail and Facebook postings regarding President Obama and the National Day of Prayer. Some dear friends forwarded the e-mail and posted a paragraph on Facebook.
I will not repeat any portion of the posts here, as the information is erroneous. One very nice lady commented on the errors – adding this last paragraph:
“I don't think anyone who sent this story (to) others are wrong to share it. Hey, you never know when something is legit and true. So if we don't band together and share info as it comes then we fall into the trap of being uninformed of the issues. So kuddos for those who shared it in good faith in the first place.”
I disagree. Kudos should never go to people who pass along gossip, even when they wish it were so. Spreading what amounts to untruths does harm, whether it is within social networks or mainstream media. We are quite capable of knowing when “something is legit and true.” We are obligated to know so before passing along untruths.
The Christian right has decried misreporting, or a lack of reporting, within mainstream media. To have passed on an item that is patently untrue is just as bad. We need to be more noble, as the Bereans Luke described.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)
We still need to find the source and consider seriously whether those things were so. What showed up in the subject e-mails and social networks was not so.
The National Day of Prayer has not been cancelled – not in 2009 or in 2010. President Obama issued a presidential proclamation designating a National Day of Prayer in 2009 and will do so again, as other presidents have done since 1952. He elected to observe the occasion privately. And why not? Did not Christ give us the example?
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6 KJV)
We should be more concerned about the lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. A federal judge has ruled in favor of their contention that such a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. The Obama administration defended against the suit, supporting the retention of our National Day of Prayer, and will be able to issue the proclamation this year while appealing the decision.
Muslims may join all Americans during the National Day of Prayer. They did, independently, organize a prayer service in September, 2009, which was not observed by the White House.
Those are discernable facts available to anyone who will take the time to check. Here are but a few resources.
http://www.ndptf.org/ or http://nationaldayofprayer.org/