Lawmakers in Washington recently weighed in on a ridiculous court decision by Wisconsin federal circuit judge Barbara Crabb that held that the promotion of a National Day of Prayer by the government is unconstitutional. The lawmakers want President Obama's Justice Department to appeal the ruling.
It’s not likely that Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department will suddenly become a champion of liberty and defend the “dangerous Christians” who want to mention God in a government sanctioned event.
Many have heard of this decision since it was handed down more than a week ago, but I am willing to bet that most people have no idea why there is a National Day of Prayer in the first place.
The very first Day of Prayer was held just two and a half hours car ride south of DC, in Williamsburg, Virginia – for a most important reason. A Washington reporter noted, “The National Day of Prayer was mandated by Congress and the White House in 1953, and its roots have been traced back to the late 1700s and the Continental Congress.” Indeed, those roots are traced back to May 24, 1774 when the Virginia House of Burgesses approved a Resolution declaring a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer” to be held in solidarity with Massachusetts.
The Resolution had been “cooked up” (Thomas Jefferson's words) when he and Patrick Henry decided that they must support the Tea Party revolt which had occurred in Boston Harbor, just five months earlier. On December 16, 1773 colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians dumped 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor. Instead of reducing the high taxes which had caused the revolt in the first place, the British government began a systematic attack on the colonists in Massachusetts.
Henry and Jefferson, living in the richest colony and the one with the greatest population, knew the British would soon crack down on Virginia malcontents seeking to keep the simple fruits of their own labor. They decided to turn to God for help, and that is why the Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer is so important. Less than one year later, Patrick Henry gave his most famous speech at a church in Richmond, Virginia, where he invoked God's help twice.
It was not a religious ceremony, but the meeting was held in the church because it was the largest building nearest to Williamsburg. The agenda was about treason, revolt and other government discouraged activities, and they knew if they held their meeting in Williamsburg they would likely be arrested, perhaps hung.