Friday, May 08, 2009

Should Obama Pray With Dobson?

Over the years, there are two events that have caused me to scratch my head, See You At the Pole and the National Day of Prayer. I scratch my head because on the one hand I see nothing wrong with praying for our nation or even the President signing the proclamation for a National Day of Prayer. I think we all should pray, but on the other hand, why do we have to turn something religious into a state matter that is unbiblical? A CitizenLink article has cited Dr. Dobson as being "disappointed".
Dr. Dobson said he was disappointed by Obama's lack of involvement in this year's National Day of Prayer.

"There are tens of millions of people praying across this country — 40,000 prayer events — and yet for the first time since 1993, the White House did not even send a representative of the Cabinet to the National Day of Prayer," he said at a news conference following the prayer event.

"When the professional baseball team wins the World Series or when the Super Bowl is played or when college teams win the national championship, they are invited to the White House to celebrate," Dr. Dobson said.

"That's important, apparently, but celebrating prayer, which is our heritage, which is what these people are talking about, is ignored. We are disappointed in that. We are not angry."

I struggle simply because Dr. Dobson's theological approach to this is simply shallow. Would he welcome President Obama into his prayer gathering? Would he have Obama speak at his prayer gathering on the topic of prayer?

If Dr. Dobson did have Obama speak or pray with him, here is a problem as I see it. Would Dr. Dobson have a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon speak or lead prayer at one of his events? If so, that would say quite a bit about Dr. Dobson.

The fact is, President Obama was not a part of a Christian church. Obama's pastor for the last 20 years has been Jeremiah Wright. Jeremiah Wright is a heretic, not a Christian. Jeremiah Wright is as confused on religion as he is politics, which leads me back to my questions.

Why should we expect a man of a different faith, such as President Obama, pray with Christians? If Obama, chooses to pray for our country, why does it have to be with Christian ministers (keep in mind, Dr. Dobson is not a Christian minister). Should we all rejoice if Obama decided to pray to Allah or some other god?

Let me be clear. I am not against the National Day of Prayer. Nevertheless, prayer is an act of worship. From a Christian perspective, it is to be done in accordance with the New Testament and Scripture as a whole. If we wish to gather in our churches and pray that God would grant our nation repentance from evil, and bless our nation in other ways as well, fine. If we do this, we must always keep in mind the Biblical Two-Kingdom model and keep it at the forefront. The United States is not the Church.

President Obama should not be expected to go against his religious beliefs. He should not be forced to pray with Christians, nor should he be expected to come to a rally with Dr. Dobson. I would no more pray with Obama in the White House than I would allow him to speak at a prayer breakfast in my local church or local community. I would not pray with Obama just as I would not pray with a consistent Roman Catholic in a public worship service (assuming they would be leading in prayer). Obama happens to have a more consistent idea on the separation of church and state when he states that the United States is not a Christian nation, than does Dr. Dobson.

Perhaps over the next few years, Christians will be forced to re-think through this difficult issue. This debate is not new by any means and much could be learned from christian history. Perhaps God has indeed blessed the church by forcing the situation upon us.

Here is a passage of Scripture from 1 Timothy 2:
1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

May all Christians pray for their government and its leaders. This is a duty of the church, not the state.

No comments: