Understanding the Focus on the Family Mindset

Last year I noted how is seemed that those who work at Focus on the Family just seem to be fundamentally incapable of realizing that there are millions of people in this nation who do not share their Christian views.

Here is some more evidence of Focus’ myopia, as President Jim Daly wonders just how anyone could possibly oppose the National Day of Prayer:

But even an enthusiastic atheist would have a difficult time explaining how merely recognizing the first Thursday in May as a “Day of Prayer” (without any denominational attribution or financial support) is akin to establishing a national religion. By Judge Crabb’s standards, if the federal recognition of the National Day of Prayer is illegal, so is Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

As a Christian, I view the matter of prayer with an admitted bias, but one studied with both my head and heart. Clearly, prayer means different things to different people. Personally, I receive my understanding of prayer and its collective purpose and power from the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. I do not view prayer as merely a recitation of personal requests, though I do regularly pray for the health and well-being of my wife and two boys. Prayer is very personal; it helps me remember again and again that life is not about me and how utterly and wholly dependent I am on God.

I am not alone in my understanding and practice of this both mysterious and reflective practice; but we Christians support a National Day of Prayer for reasons well beyond selfish interest. A colleague of mine at Focus on the Family tells the story of a mentor back in Texas who used to say he always got down on his knees to pray because “it makes it real clear who’s in charge.”

Christians understand prayer to be powerful because it is the way in which we humbly and gratefully praise God. We don’t believe prayer changes God’s mind, but rather that prayer changes our hearts. And changed hearts lead to a more humble, grateful and healthy nation of Americans.

Who, may I ask, could possibly be opposed to that?

First of all, Easter is not a federal holiday.

And secondly, does Daly really not understand who could oppose a National Day of Prayer after he explicitly explains that prayer is important because it allows us to “humbly and gratefully praise God” and therefore reminds us God is always in charge?

I’ll tell you who could opposes that: the millions of nonbelievers in this country and organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

I wonder if Daly would have a different reaction if we declared, say, a National Day of Blasphemy.