Naturally, all the multiculturalists and anti-religious bigots have come crawling out of the woodwork to criticize Perry. Some hide behind the overly-quoted "separation of church and state" mantra, overlooking the fact that the Constitution merely proclaims that Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of a religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof. Others who preach so-called "tolerance" claim there's no place for so-called "religious zealots" in government, thus betraying their own intolerance (intolerance of intolerance is STILL intolerance). The Houston Chronicle reports that a number of groups intend to organize counter-events and protests, most notably the American Jewish Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The Freedom From Religion Foundation attempted to sue in order to stop Perry, but U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller ruled that they did not have standing to sue.
But the critics have not scared Alaska Governor Sean Parnell away from following Perry's lead. While he will not join Rick Perry in Texas, he has decided to declare August 6th to be a day of prayer in Alaska. The full proclamation is available on the governor's official website and is replicated below:
WHEREAS, throughout America’s history, our leaders have called upon us to look beyond ourselves for protection, wisdom, and strength by praying for our people and our country; and
WHEREAS, in 1779 during a time of battle and conflict, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation calling on the Almighty God…“That he will be our Shield in the Day of Battle, and our kind Parent and merciful Judge through Time and through Eternity;” and
WHEREAS, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, Praise, and Prayer to recognize and pay tribute to “the presence of the Almighty Father and the power of His hand” in the nation’s ongoing civil war. Americans were invited to assemble “in their customary places of worship and in the forms approved by their own consciences render the homage due to the Divine Majesty for the wonderful things He has done in the nation’s behalf;” and
WHEREAS, in a time of war and suffering, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called upon Americans in a historic radio address on June 6, 1944, to join with him in prayer to the Almighty God as we “struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity;” and
WHEREAS, in 1981, President Ronald Reagan recognized prayer as a “source of strength” and in a time of reflection called on the nation to “join together before God, fully aware of the trials that lie ahead and the need, yes, the necessity, for divine guidance;” and
WHEREAS, we recognize that today we are a nation under trial of war, impacts of natural disaster, threat of more severe economic hardships, and that our families are under attack on many fronts;” and
WHEREAS, like Governor Rick Perry of Texas calling the citizens of his state to pray and fast for our nation beginning August 6, 2011, we join the people of Texas and beyond in following the example of past leaders and call our citizens to prayer, that we might acknowledge the challenges facing our nation, express our inability to meet them alone, and petition our Creator and Sustainer to help our nation in this time of great need.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sean Parnell, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim August 6, 2011 as:
A Day of Prayer for Our Nation
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to join me and citizens across the country in humbling ourselves, seeking God’s face, and praying for the protection and provision of our nation’s people, and for the wisdom and strength of our leaders.
As you can see, the proposed prayer is nondenominational, simply referring to an Almighty God and declaring Him a Creator and Sustainer. Thus no Christian, Jew, or Muslim should have a theological problem with it, considering that all are monotheistic faiths. Even polytheistic believers shouldn't really have a problem with it, since most polytheistic faiths recognize one god as supreme. Those who have a problem with it can simply elect not to participate.
But that doesn't matter to the scores of critics who've swarmed the comments section of the Anchorage Daily News story and who've even posted to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story. It's not enough that they're not required to participate; they want it banned. This shows that their real objective is to abridge our right to worship according to the dictates of our own consciences.
Even if you don't support Rick Perry's politics or his presidential ambitions, don't let that deter you from joining in this day of prayer if your conscience moves you.