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National Day Of Wishing To Replace Day Of Prayer
WASHINGTON (CAP) - Although claims that the annual National Day of Prayer may violate the First Amendment didn't stop it from happening this year, the White House has proposed changes to the holiday for next year, enacting instead a "National Day of Wishing."
"For what is prayer if not a form of wishing - for mercy, forgiveness, to win the lottery or that something horrible will befall our enemies," noted President Obama, speaking to reporters at the White House yesterday. "And by enemies I'm not specifically referring to [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell."
Obama noted that it would no way violate the separation of church and state to ask people of all faiths - or no faith - to engage in a nationally sponsored day of abject begging to no one in particular. "Or as we refer to it in Washington, Tuesday," said Obama. "Just a little Beltway humor there."
The announcement drew immediate criticism from the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a privately funded group with strong ties to the Evangelical Christian movement and an armed militia believed to number about 30,000.
"The National Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for all Americans to pray voluntarily according to their own faith," said task force chairwoman Shirley Dobson, wife of former Focus on the Family CEO Rev. James Dobson. "It provides an excellent opportunity for those of us who are going to be saved to pray for the doomed souls of those who oppose us, as if we would do that."
And Darlene Fortenski of Mothers Against Everything (MAE) said her group was very much against changing the Day of Prayer in any way.
"We think it's wonderful to have a day specially set aside for prayer," said Fortenski. "I know that's the day every year that Rev. Dobson takes my 16-year-old son Fred into that special room off his basement for extra-long prayer sessions, and I pray that someday they'll help Fred be less aloof and distant."
But many, such as The End Of Faith author Sam Harris, applauded the move. Appearing on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, Harris called it "a fine first step" toward dismantling all of America's houses of worship and bringing on a godless society based strictly on intellect.
"Maybe we could turn all the churches into marijuana bars!" suggested Maher, and they high-fived.
The proposal actually came as a compromise after the president rejected Vice President Joe Biden's suggestion of a "National Day of Pleading."
"I know I'm always pleading with my wife Jill to forgive me for some stupid thing or another that I said to her," said Biden. "Like when she asked me if this shirt she was wearing made her look fat, and I said, 'No fatter than any other shirt you've got.' Ouch!
"I should mention that she's smoking hot," added Biden.
As for Obama, he told reporters he's satisfied that the institution of a National Day of Wishing will allay the controversies in much the same manner as most of his other proposals, by leaving both sides vaguely dissatisfied. As for what he will wish for on the first National Day of Wishing, he said, "Sometimes I wish for a new vice president."
"Just kidding folks!" he added quickly. "I'm here all week."
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