Our Opinion: Gathering to pray for our nation

News Tribune editorial

The free exercise of religion, including prayer, is promised in the U.S. Constitution, a blueprint for our government.

Prayers for our government and its leaders will be offered by people nationwide who gather today at National Day of Prayer events.

In Jefferson City, activities will include:

• The mayor and presiding commissioner’s eighth annual National Day of Prayer Breakfast from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Truman Hotel. The featured speaker is coach Dave Fox.

• A prayer rally at noon on the Capitol steps.

• A National Day of Prayer celebration at 6 p.m. on the Capitol south lawn and steps, hosted by Two Guys and Bible Ministry. The Rev. Don Allen will be the guest speaker and music will be provided by Life Work.

Organizers of the national observance have planned events “in thousands of public venues where intercession will be made for America and its leadership.”

This year’s theme is “One Nation under God,” based on Psalm 33:12, which reads: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Much public discussion centers on the relationship between church and state, defined in the First Amendment provision that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...”

Topics in the “Your Opinion” forum have included:

• Whether the United States is a “Christian nation?”

• Whether religious symbols may be displayed in public places?

• Whether certain government provisions conflict with religious principles?

These questions are always complex and often controversial. Prayer, however, is neither complex nor controversial. Today, people will gather in Jefferson City and elsewhere to pray that our leaders are endowed with wisdom, strength and guidance as they make decisions on behalf of the governed. We encourage anyone so inclined to participate in this free exercise of religion.

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