In Cullman, Alabama, School Superintendent Billy Coleman is under attack from an atheist organization. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to Cullman County Schools to object to a planned "prayer caravan" set for Aug. 10. The superintendent has initiated the voluntary program for the past three years. School district leaders visit each county school and say a short prayer. (Source: The Birmingham News)
In its promotion of the event the school system wrote on its website: “It will be a time to lift our schools up to God and ask His blessings for the upcoming school year.” FFRF went ballistic and demanded the event be cancelled.
Superintendent Coleman is not backing down. And he shouldn't. He is not doing anything wrong. In fact, he is following in the best traditions of our Presidents who annually call on the nation to pray. If the President of the United States can urge Americans to pray, certainly a local school official can do the same.
Just this past Memorial Day, President Obama not only called on the nation to pray for peace, he designated the time he wanted everyone to pray! His proclamation stated:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer.
On Thursday, May 2, the President issued a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. In it he declared:
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer."
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 May 2, 2013, as a National Day of Prayer. I join the citizens of our Nation in giving thanks, in accordance with our own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and in asking for God's continued guidance, mercy, and protection.
Superintendent Coleman is doing the right thing and more school superintendents should follow his example. As President Obama wrote in his proclamation for a National Day of Prayer: "Prayer brings communities together and can be a wellspring of strength and support." Can I hear an Amen?