Day of Prayer invitation should be open to all
To the editor:
I am writing in response to Sharon Auldrich’s guest column in the April 20 Sun Thisweek, which encouraged residents to participate in the National Day of Prayer.
I begin by thanking her for drawing the community’s attention to this important, ecumenical and interfaith opportunity. Certainly, when we gather to pray for the welfare and good of our country and world, it is a good thing.
However, her well-stated goal for this day in paragraph three is contradicted by her comments in paragraphs four and seven. She writes: “This act of Congress is intended to allow all people of faith to pray to the God of their understanding. It allows people of all theological and philosophical views to organize and participate in activities that are constant (consistent?) with their own beliefs. All who wish to pray for this nation are encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate and respectable.”
Yet, she then continues with: “… the National Day of Prayer Task Force … works to prepare theme materials … for those who wish to plan events consistent with the Judeo-Christian expression of prayer.” And “I believe it will continue to be a strong nation only if faithful people who believe the God of the Bible will pray!”
Perhaps her contradiction was an innocent oversight (I hope so), yet because it reflects a deeply held conviction by too many American Christians that Muslims, and others, who do not have Judeo-Christian beliefs are not validated as compatriots within the circle of prayer. If she/we are serious that “all people of faith” are encouraged to join this important day of prayer, we must insure that such an invitation is truly open.
JOHN W. MATTHEWS
Senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley and police chaplain for the city of Burnsville