Flag flying on the National Day of Prayer?

May 6, 2010

We’re coming up on four relatively under-appreciated flag-flying dates before Independence Day (July 4):

  • Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May
  • Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
  • Memorial Day (half-staff until noon*), the last Monday in May
  • Flag Day, June 14
President Obama at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - White House photo

President Obama at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - White House photo

I was surprised to see the “fly your flag today” note in the Dallas Morning News today, especially with the accompanying news story. As you can see above, it’s not on the flag-fly list in law.  President Obama’s declaration of the National Day of Prayer doesn’t suggest flying the flag.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences.  Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation.

Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere, and the people from those countries and from around the world who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to render aid.  Let us pray for the families of the West Virginia miners, and the people of Poland who so recently and unexpectedly lost many of their beloved leaders.  Let us pray for the safety and success of those who have left home to serve in our Armed Forces, putting their lives at risk in order to make the world a safer place.  As we remember them, let us not forget their families and the substantial sacrifices that they make every day.  Let us remember the unsung heroes who struggle to build their communities, raise their families, and help their neighbors, for they are the wellspring of our greatness.  Finally, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those people everywhere who join us in the aspiration for a world that is just, peaceful, free, and respectful of the dignity of every human being.

It’s not in the Congressional Resolution that declares the day (see it tucked in there between National Aviation Day and National Defense Transportation Day).

You may fly your flag any day.  But so far as I can tell, we’re not urged by law to fly the flag for prayer day.

In addition to those many worthy things to pray or meditate for on National Prayer Day, pray for a rational solution to the flap over the day.  Since when does anyone need a law to allow them pray?  Who is trying to claim an official flag-flying mantle, and why do they think a right to pray needs such a boost?

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