In May 1776, the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of “Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.” Since then, our presidents have occasionally marked off a special day for prayer; and in 1988 Reagan fixed the first Thursday in May as “The National Day of Prayer.” Humiliation and fasting have apparently been cut.
Not all presidents have hopped onto the clasped-hand bandwagon. Madison declared a National Day of Prayer, then regretted it, feeling it violated the separation of church and state. Jefferson was quite the party-pooper, opining that “civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of the constituents.”
The Ullage Group suspects Jefferson may have been on to something. After all, presidents have a lot to do: there are those pesky constitutional duties, as well as such traditional ceremonies as jogging or cutting brush for the press. Our current exec certainly has his hands full. Perhaps religion should be left to the private sector.
We also think that we’re as qualified as anyone else to direct religious exercises; and so we proudly announce the establishment of the Ullage Group National Day of Prayer (the U.G.N.D.P.) as an alternative. Depending on demand, we may also incorporate fasting and humiliation. Today, unfortunately, is not an U.G.N.D.P.: you’re on your own, and will have to decide for yourself whether to pray or not. But check back with us.
(Posted by Doug Skinner)