Monday, April 20, 2009

Task Force Behind Prayer Day in Council Resolution Excludes Faiths Outside of Protestant Fundamentalism

At tomorrow night's Metro Council meeting, CMs Jim Hodge, Randy Foster, Jim Gotto, and Robert Duvall will introduce a resolution proclaiming Nashville's participation in a National Day of Prayer on May 7 even though the task force that prompts government proclamations and community participation rejects cooperation with Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even moderate evangelical Christians.

According to a lobby group that attempts to leverage a more inclusive prayer day, the National Day of Prayer Task Force is dominated by the sectarian interests of Focus on the Family. It links to the task force's application, which states, "I commit that NDP activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians while those with differing beliefs are welcome to attend." The local coordinators commissioned by the task force must sign a confession of faith to an infallible bible and to exclusive salvation through Jesus Christ and his miracles:
I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God. I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, the atoning work of his shed blood, his resurrection and ascension, his intercession and his coming return to power and glory. I believe that those who follow Jesus are family and there should be unity among all who claim his name. I agree that these statements are true in my life.
The task force's website also makes no bones about is goal of "publicizing and preserving America's Christian heritage."

The "diversity" observed in the Metro Council's resolution belies the exclusive sectarian context of the National Day of Prayer. It is no surprise that the sponsors of this resolution all come from fundamentalist and right-wing evangelical traditions of faith. The council should not be in the business of promoting a narrow Focus on the Family agenda that keeps all religious and nonreligious groups from advancing their own agendas in the marketplace of ideas. Council progressives need to stand up and at least debate the merits of this resolution and at best amend it to cut out the National Day of Prayer Task Force's influence over any Metro sanctioned celebration in Nashville. If the unamended resolution as introduced passes, Mayor Karl Dean should not sign it.

No comments:

Post a Comment