Is David Cameron finding it hard to 'do God'?
His Grace was somewhat irritated on Wednesday watching PMQs; not so much by the manner in which the Prime Minister dealt with a question by Nadine Dorries, but by the way he responded to David Burrowes MP, who asked the Prime Minister if, in the wake of the riots, this would be an opportune moment to support the Global Day of Prayer (next Saturday, at Wembley). There was no mention of a particular religion or even of God, and certainly no utterance of the name of Jesus.
Here’s the iPlayer link: fast forward to 0.45.50 to hear the question and response, or, rather, the lack of response. The Prime Minister gave his fervent support to the Mayor, the DCLG and to a £20million scheme to help rebuild the areas worst hit. But he pointedly avoided giving even a word of support to the Global Day of Prayer. One wonders why? What possible harm could it have done?
By way of contrast, last year Boris Johnson not only endorsed the event; he was physically present and publicly prayed with Church leaders. He said: “I congratulate all of you who have come here today because you could be watching the World Cup." And then, referring to England's disappointing start in the tournament, he shared a little parable: "I believe passionately that the message of the Christian faith is that you can come back if you don't get the best possible start in life, because there are people to help you. That's what Christianity means to me and that's what Christian groups do all over London."
Further, a letter from the White House landed in His Grace’s in-box yesterday, calling an entire nation to prayer. It is ironic – is it not – that a country with a professing Anglican Prime Minister and an Established Church is manifestly embarrassed by the prospect of prayer, while the President of the secular USA, with its strict separation of church and state, can issue a decree for entire days dedicated to the pursuit.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 9, 2011
NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE, 2011
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Ten years ago, a bright September day was darkened by the worst terrorist attack on America in our Nation's history. On this tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we lift in prayer and remembrance the men, women, and children who died in New York City, in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, and we honor the countless heroes who responded to senseless violence with courage and compassion. We continue to stand with their families and loved ones, while striving to ensure the legacy of those we lost is a safer, stronger, and more resilient Nation.
Since that day, a generation has come of age bearing the burden of war. The 9/11 Generation of service members and their families has stepped up to defend our security at home and abroad. They volunteer, knowing they might be sent into harm's way, and they uphold the virtues of selflessness and sacrifice that have always been at the center of our Nation's strength. We pay humble tribute to all those who serve in our Armed Forces, and to the thousands of brave Americans who have given their last full measure of devotion during this difficult decade of war.
First responders, law enforcement officials, service members, diplomats -- the range of Americans who have dedicated themselves to building a safer world is awe-inspiring. We have put unprecedented pressure on those who attacked us 10 years ago and put al-Qa'ida on the path to defeat. Around the globe, we have joined with allies and partners to support peace, security, prosperity, and universal rights. At home, communities have come together to make us a stronger country, united by our diversity, our character, and our enduring principles.
Today, our Nation still faces great challenges, but this last decade has proven once more that, as a people, we emerge from our trials stronger than before. During these days of prayer and remembrance, a grateful Nation gives thanks to all those who have given of themselves to make us safer. And in memory of the fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends and loved ones taken from us 10 years ago, let us join again in common cause to build a more hopeful world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11, 2011, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States honor and remember the victims of September 11, 2001, and their loved ones through prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils, and other appropriate ceremonies and activities. I invite people around the world to participate in this commemoration.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
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