Yesterday I wrote a post about the Religious Right blasting the Obama administration for abandoning the “tradition” of hosting an official National Day of Prayer event at the White House, despite the fact that said “tradition” was started and observed by exactly one president: George W. Bush.
So instead of an event at the White House, an event was held at the Capitol and James Dobson, whose wife Shirley heads the pseudo-official National Day of Prayer Task Force, criticized for White House for not only refusing to host an event itself but for not even sending a representative to the event held on the Hill:
Evangelical author and radio host James Dobson said that he is “disappointed” that for the first time in nearly two decades there was no representative from the White House during the National Day of Prayer event.
“I have not asked to meet with the president and certainly he has not asked to meet with me, but I would just like this country to remember its foundation, to remember its heritage and honor it, especially on the day set aside by George Washington in the beginning for prayer in this country,” he said. “And I would hope that that would have occurred.”
“The national day of prayer is important for people all across the country and I think the president missed a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “…Not only did he not have any ceremony himself, he did not send any representatives from the White House to this event.”
Well, according to Dan Gilgoff, it turns out that that was because Day of Prayer organizers “stipulated that the White House representative had to be opposed to abortion rights:”
“The administration’s representative had to be pro-life,” says the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Nobody else was allowed to go.”
National Day of Prayer Task Force Marketing and Media Manager Becky Armstrong declined to comment on the report. An E-mail message sent yesterday to Focus on the Family’s vice president for media relations, Gary Schneeberger, went unreturned. The prayer day task force operates out of Focus’s Colorado Springs headquarters and is chaired by Shirley Dobson, the wife of the Focus founder.
[T]he well-placed source said the only Obama cabinet secretary to receive an invite to yesterday’s event was Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, an anti-abortion rights Republican. LaHood did not attend the event.
Earlier this week, the Family Research Council weighed in to criticize Obama for not hosting a White House event in a piece entitled “The National Day of Prayer Is Everyone’s Day.”
Everyone, that is, except those who don’t share the Religious Right’s views, apparently.