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Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Pharisaical

DeLay Calls for Greater Humility: "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) delivered an emotional homily yesterday on the need for greater humility in public servants, declaring himself a sinner before a largely Christian audience and warning that pride has brought down leaders throughout history."
While one appreciates the rectitude of what Mr. DeLay has to say here, and one has a policy of taking truth regardless of the messenger, this particular message from this particular messenger certainly gives one pause. Actually, coming from this particular messenger on this particular occasion, it seems to be more propaganda than anything else. The particular occasion, is, of course, particularly offensive. Let me be clear; prayer is not the problem. A National Day of Prayer is not the problem. The problem is that all official National Day of Prayer events are organized by the organization below. It is this organization that was meeting with the President of the United States and it was their service that was the only official acknowledgement of the day.
National Day of Prayer .::. About NDP: "The National Day of Prayer was created by an act of Congress and is, therefore, intended for all peoples of faith to pray to the God of their understanding. However, our expression of that involvement is specifically limited to the Judeo-Christian heritage and those who share that conviction as expressed in the Lausanne Convenant. If peoples of other faiths wish to celebrate in their own tradition, they are welcome to do so, but we must be true to those who have supported this effort and volunteered their time to promote it. National Day of Prayer is not a function of the government and, therefore, a particular expression of it can be defined by those who choose to organize it. This is not a church/state issue."
One does not dispute that any group can choose to organize their own expression of the National Day of Prayer. One is simply struck by the fact that this is the only organization that elected officials seem to choose as the expression of the National Day of Prayer. In point of fact, one wonders a great deal about the loud, public display of piety. See if you can identify this quote:
"Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

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