President Joe Biden’s proclamation in honor of the National Day of Prayer is facing criticism from conservatives because it does not include the word “God.”
Biden, a Catholic, issued a presidential proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer Thursday. He invited “the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings.”
As the president noted, “Congress, by Public Law 100-37, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a ‘National Day of Prayer.’”
“On this National Day of Prayer, we unite with purpose and resolve, and recommit ourselves to the core freedoms that helped define and guide our Nation from its earliest days,” the proclamation reads.
“We celebrate our incredible good fortune that, as Americans, we can exercise our convictions freely — no matter our faith or beliefs. Let us find in our prayers, however they are delivered, the determination to overcome adversity, rise above our differences, and come together as one Nation to meet this moment in history.”
Biden also credited prayer for powering “moral movements,” including “essential rights against racial injustice, child labor, and infringement on the rights of disabled Americans.”
Additionally, the president attributed the creation of “a Nation of remarkable religious vitality and diversity across the generations” to “the right of all Americans to pray” guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It did not take long for prominent Christian conservatives to realize that Biden’s message, released Wednesday, did not include the word “God.”
By contrast, former President Donald Trump’s most recent proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer in 2020 included the word “God” 11 times. Former President Barack Obama’s most recent National Day of Prayer proclamation issued in 2016 featured the word “God” twice.
“Joe Biden’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation has been released and it doesn’t even mention God once!” Christian Broadcasting Network Chief Political Correspondent David Brody commented on Twitter. “How do you release a proclamation about prayer and not mention God at all? Of course it mentions climate change & racial justice. Truly, this is pathetic…and not surprising.”
When discussing “the role that the healing balm of prayer can play in our lives and in the life of our Nation,” Biden addressed the “crises and challenges of our time.” According to Biden, these challenges include “a deadly pandemic,” “the loss of lives and livelihoods in its wake,” “a reckoning on racial justice” and “the existential threat of climate change.”
Conservative radio host Todd Starnes, author of the book God Less America, also weighed in on Biden’s omission of the word “God” from his proclamation.
“Regarding Biden’s godless National Day of Prayer proclamation: The problem with the Democrats is that they don’t believe that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights,” he wrote on Twitter. “They believe we are endowed by the government.”
Biden’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation also did not include any Bible passages.
Trump’s 2020 proclamation included a reference to 1 John 5:14, which declares that when “we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Biden’s proclamation did include a quote from John Lewis, the late congressman and civil rights activist, who described human beings as “the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.”
The National Day of Prayer was first established in 1952 when President Harry Truman signed into law a joint resolution establishing a National Day of Prayer. Every president since Truman has issued a proclamation recognizing the occasion.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed an amended version of the law establishing the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.
On Thursday night, national faith leaders will join President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence in participating in a National Day of Prayer celebration hosted by Pray.com.