Critics have charged that the NDP Task Force used its political power to “hijack” the National Day of Prayer to exclude all faiths except traditional Christians, and that this violates theEstablishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Aseem Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation stated, “In 2005, the Hindu American Foundation was repulsed by Shirley Dobson's National Day of Prayer Task Force, when it sought to join celebrations throughout the country. This same task force joined the likes of Focus on Family and others, that enjoyed official status and the aura of government sanction.”
During the George W. Bush administration, the NDP Task Force excluded members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from active participation in National Day of Prayer events, even in the state of Utah where Mormons make up 70% of the state's population. In 2004, this led an ecumenical group of 40 faiths to boycott the Task Force-sponsored event in the Utah Valley.
The NDP Task Force states: “The National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based.”
Cassi Creek: this event has been captured by evangelicals with intent to exclude everyone else from participation and planning. It is yet another attempt to declare an official state religion, creating a “tyranny of the minority” with intent to eliminate any real freedom of or from religion in these once United States.
If this event is to be continued, the word “national” should be removed from its title and any involvement with the federal government in any manner, eliminated.