Sunday, September 06, 2009

Why does the Queen no longer call the nation to prayer?

Parliament commences its proceedings each day with prayers to the One God of Heaven and Earth in the Trinity of His Sacred Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the past, the Monarch would call the nation to prayer during times of crisis. The last to do so was King George VI, who, acting under the advice of Winston Churchill, called the nation to a National Day of Prayer for Repentance and Petition for Deliverance during World War II.

And the deliverance came. And the services of thanksgiving were held, and still reverberate in the national consciousness.

But Churchill was a sincere, devout, Bible-reading, resurrection-believing Christian.

When Tony Blair was asked by the Reverend Ian Paisley to issue such a call, he replied: “I am sure that the nation will pray in its own way for what the hon. Gentleman says. I do not know whether it is right for Government to impose that, but I am sure that, according to their own consciences and faith, people will pray for the objectives that he has set out.”

But Tony Blair is a ‘don’t do God’ kind of Christian.

And Her Majesty is constrained to act only on the advice of her Ministers.

It is ironic that the United States, with its strict separation of church and state, has presidents which call the nation to prayer. But the United Kingdom, with an Established Church and a Head of State who is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, no longer calls its people to prayer.

Cranmer has received a communication from The White House, detailing President Obama’s proclamation of a National Day of Prayer. It is interesting to note that ‘repentance’ has become ‘remembrance’, but he is at least continuing his nation’s tradition which was instituted in 1775. Congress established the National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution in 1952. The law was amended by President Reagan, designating the first Thursday in May as an annual Day of Prayer.

The President of the United States has called for a National Day of Prayer every year since 1975. There have been 135 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President (between 1789-2009). There have been 57 Presidential Proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2009).

There have been no prime ministerial or royal proclamations of a Day of Prayer since World War II.

Here is the President’s proclamation:

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 3, 2009


They were daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, spouses and partners, family and friends, colleagues and strangers. They hailed from cities and towns across our Nation and world. On September 11, 2001, thousands of innocent women and men were taken from us, and their loss leaves an emptiness in our hearts.

Hundreds perished as planes struck the skyline of New York City, the structure of the Pentagon, and the grass of Pennsylvania. In the immediate aftermath of these tragedies, many victims died as they sought safety. Selflessly placing themselves in danger, first responders, members of the Armed Forces, and private citizens made the ultimate sacrifice working to assist others. During the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, Americans across the country cherish the memory of all those who passed and honor and pray for their families and friends.

Americans also remember and pray for the safety and success of the members of the United States Armed Forces, who work every day to keep our Nation safe from terrorism and other threats to our security. Military members assisted those in need on September 11, 2001, and serve now in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. They have left the safety of home so that our Nation might be more secure. They have endured great sacrifice so that we might enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Our service members represent the best of America, and they deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.

The threat of terrorism has denied too many men, women, and children their right to live in peace and security. As the United States works to defeat terrorists and build a more hopeful future for our children and young people across the world, we seek humility and strength. We reflect upon the lessons drawn from our national tragedy, seek God's guidance and wisdom, and, never forgetting the lost, commit to working in common cause with our friends and allies to create a safer and brighter world for current and future generations.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 4, through Sunday, September 6, as more National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States, each in their own way, honor the victims of September 11, 2001, and their families through prayer, memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I invite the people of the world to share in this solemn commemoration.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.



Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

Boris is trying to call London to prayer, and Oxford will soon be getting called to prayer three times a day if certain wishes get their way, so we are making small steps of progress Your Grace. We must learn patience.

6 September 2009 at 12:14  
Anonymous oiznop said...

The only call to prayer now allowed is that from a minaret.

I though Muslims had now copyrighted the term 'call to prayer'?

6 September 2009 at 12:18  
Blogger Demetrius said...

I would rather HM dismiss the Prime Minister, and ask Vince Cable to form a temporary cabinet on condition he calls for an immediate election

6 September 2009 at 12:40  
Blogger Silent Cal said...

I applaud the sentiments of this post, but have to point out that Churchill was neither particularly devout nor resurrection-believing. But he was a conscious and successful defender of Christian civilization and for that we should forever give thanks and hope that God forgave his doubts.

6 September 2009 at 13:12  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Endlessly, we have, "I, BARACK OBAMA,..." The man is absolutely obsessed with the sound of his own name when in fact is is more of an abscess.

6 September 2009 at 15:12  
Anonymous Justine said...

I think Cal has made a good point.
Christian civilization and its
institutions must be defended because there is nothing as good
or better to replace it.One doesn't have to be a believer to understand this.Our culture is
Christian, rich in tradition.Why would any of us jeopardise this.
Even moslems and jews are moved
when they hear 'Ebarme dich'

6 September 2009 at 15:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But Churchill was a sincere, devout, Bible-reading, resurrection-believing Christian."

That's news to me. But he was a flying buttress': he supported the church from the outside, unlike Blair, who undermines it from within.
Is there any evidence at all that Gordon Brown is personally a Christian? Does he believe, pray and go to church? Or is that all in the past?

6 September 2009 at 15:51  
Anonymous len said...

I believe the true God of the bible would like nothing better than a day of prayer" Return to me and I will return to you,says the Lord"
But man has been deluded, he has been led astray by the satanic lie that he can be as god, that man does not need God , that man can be his own god.
Until we can see that humanity is destitute,impoverished and spiritually dead without the true God of the bible, and cry out to Him in despair we will remain in our wretched condition.

6 September 2009 at 16:08  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

So let us pray, Your Grace, for the strenght to defend our culture as fervidly as those who would destroy it defend theirs. And, to paraphrase GK Chesterton, "Let all God's enemies go to Hell".

6 September 2009 at 17:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently Dr. D doesn't know or quite understand the proper proclamation etiquette.

Could it be that in America, history still means something, while in Britain, all history has been falsely buried under some cloud of supposed shame? For fear of offense? How stupid, and how dangerous for a country to forget its history.

6 September 2009 at 17:46  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

"Could it be that in America, history still means something".


6 September 2009 at 18:45  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

There's no history in a proposition nation. That's the whole point of having a proposition nation. To deprive the nation of it's posterity and with it the possibility of learning from the past and therefore forever remaining childlike.

The shallowness and corruption of American politics and culture more than attests to this.

6 September 2009 at 19:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6 September 2009 at 20:19  
Anonymous Johnson - Johnson & Johnson said...

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My positronic network informs me it's time for some zeds. Goodnight and God Bless America and all it's future health care death panels.

6 September 2009 at 23:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear, dear - using the US as a good example? - a state that was specifically designed with the separation of church and state in mind and has, since the 1950s, completely disregarded those values

Most of the British aren't like you anymore - we don't want to be told what religion to follow and when to pray like little schoolchildren - religion is a private matter, keep it out of our faces

6 September 2009 at 23:35  
Anonymous Dave J. said...

"...a state that was specifically designed with the separation of church and state in mind..."

What on earth are you talking about? Your passive and ignorant acceptance of the most common misunderstanding of the Non-Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, I imagine? Rather than its actual intended purpose, which was to prevent the federal government from supplanting or regulating the established state churches?

6 September 2009 at 23:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you got from my one sentence there - there is a separation of church and state in the US, designed to allow all citizens to worship freely without persecution

The 20th century moves to place the christian god everywhere are pretty clearly an infringement of that right

Clearly you are not a fan of Locke

7 September 2009 at 02:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Write name in the box that appears

7 September 2009 at 03:59  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Actually, Your Grace, this nation is called to prayer, of sorts, once every year. At 11am, on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Even I observe and obey that call.

7 September 2009 at 08:23  
Anonymous John Thomas said...

CC, you start with a very definite pronouncement as to Winston Churchill's faith, and personal Christianity. Are we certain of this? His "faith status" always stikes me as a bit of an uncertainty, and he was inclined to make silly statements on the subject (and maybe others?), such as "I'm ready to meet God, but is he up to the business of meeting me?" (or words to that effect). Don't get me wrong, I think there are very definite reasons for admiring Chuchill - but was he really, totally one of us (Christian)?
I can just imagine the outcry if the queen did announce a Day of Prayer!

7 September 2009 at 11:35  
Anonymous edmund said...

annoymonousHow does school prayer infringe the no establishment clause of the US- and why was it was routine wiht bible lessons etc throughout the 19th century- that the congress that passed the no establishment clause passed a calls for national days of prayer and fasting etc? Why wasn't this kind of thing banned in the early 19th century if school prayer etc is a contradiction of it?

i was under the impression Churchill was a butress as well-Cranmer?

7 September 2009 at 15:06  
Anonymous Dave J. said...

"...there is a separation of church and state in the US, designed to allow all citizens to worship freely without persecution."

The phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in either the federal constitution or any of the 50 state constitutions. What I got from the sentence I originally quoted was the word DESIGNED. The US was not DESIGNED to establish secularism, nor to cast religion out of the public square. How exactly do you reconcile the idea that public references to the Creator and to Divine Providence (both phrases the Declaration of Independence uses) are 20th-century impositions on the real "design" of America with the fact that there were established churches in some states as late as the 1820's?

7 September 2009 at 16:15  
Blogger Laban said...

"Churchill was a sincere, devout, Bible-reading, resurrection-believing Christian"

Hmmm. Have you read 'My Early Life' ?
I'm not sure I recognise him in that description, although he appreciated the majesty, ceremony and solemnity of the CoE as was.

Interesting essay on the religion of our post-war PMs here.

8 September 2009 at 23:56  

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