McLean, VA (written by Cathy Lynn Grossman/USA Today) -- The annual National Day of Prayer, mandated by Congress in 1952, is upon us and the usual folks are out with proclamations, prayers -- and protests.
President Obama issued his annual proclamation on Monday, making special mention of prayers for the military as befitted his surprise visit to Afghanistan.
"... I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I call upon individuals of all faiths to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time."
The very conservative evangelicals who control the privately-run celebration will do their thing. The coalition led by Shirley Dobson allows only people who agree with a specific Christian expression of prayer to take the microphone at their events although all are welcome to attend and say amen. People can find prayer events listed at the web site, including more than 300 in Texas alone.
This year's prayer theme is from Psalm 33: 12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord
And, as always, Americans United for Separation of Church and State is out with its 2012 version of their annual objections to the whole idea of state sanctioned prayer used "to promote a far-right religious-political agenda.
Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United says,
"Americans don't need to be told when or whether to pray..."