Think of it as a re-tweet.
In recent years, most NDP activities have been coordinated by the “National Day of Prayer Task Force,” an organization based in Colorado Springs and run by Shirley Dobson, wife of Religious Right radio broadcaster James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.
Despite its official-sounding name, the NDP Task Force is a private group with no connection to government. Nevertheless, the organization has taken the lead in sponsoring Prayer Day events in many cities and states. The Task Force is exclusionary and does not permit participation by non-fundamentalist Christians. The materials it distributes promote a rigid fundamentalist outlook not shared by most Americans.
On the NDP’s Web site, volunteers are required to sign a statement of faith reflecting fundamentalist tenets, list church affiliation and provide clergy references. Volunteers are ordered to make sure no non-Christians speak at NDP events. (Non-Christians may only attend as long as they agree to remain silent.)
“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,” reads the Web site. “People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs.”
But even this is not accurate. The use of the term “Judeo-Christian” is deceptive. In fact, the Task Force promotes Christian fundamentalism at every turn. There is nothing “Judeo” about the Task Force’s outlook. Volunteers are told, “In both public and private life, we ask that you demonstrate the commitment you have made to Jesus Christ in the following areas: spiritual maturity, emotional stability, healthy personal relationships, financial responsibility, and a stable living situation.”
Volunteers, says the Task Force, must show “a passionate devotion to advancing Christ’s Kingdom and the cause of prayer in our nation.” They are required to affirm that they will “ensure a strong, consistent Christian message throughout the nation” and must endorse a statement reading, “I commit that NDP activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians while those with differing beliefs are welcome to attend.”
The Task Force’s Mission Statement reads that it seeks to “communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.”
The group’s “Vision and Values” include: “foster unity within the Christian church” and “publicize and preserve America’s Christian heritage.”