- (Photo: God.TV via The Christian Post)
- (Photo: MRFF Facebook)
A military religious freedom activist has called on the United States military to distance itself from the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, sent a letter last Thursday to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel outlining his request.
"The planned participation by uniformed U.S. military personnel in this private fundamentalist Christian religious event, run by a non-federal entity, is an unequivocally clear violation of the plethora of DoD regulations and instructions," wrote Weinstein.
"So, too, is the very public appearance of an active duty U.S. Army chaplain, should he appear as anticipated at this private religious event wearing his U.S. Army uniform, as other U.S. Armed Forces chaplains have sadly done at past NDP Task Force events."
Weinstein told The Christian Post that he and his group "were contacted by 27 senior officials at the Pentagon" regarding the collaboration between the Pentagon and the task force.
"Ninety-six percent of our clients are Protestants or Roman Catholics and those are the people who reached out to us," said Weinstein.
Weinstein also told CP that his organization "fought this before in 2010" and have no issue with the National Day of Prayer event itself, but rather the National Day of Prayer Task Force group.
"We have no issue with the National Day of Prayer, per se, that's not the problem," said Weinstein, adding that the event and the task force "are two completely different entities."
"The National Day of Prayer Task Force is what we view as a fundamentalist Christian theocratic cabal working as hard as it can to turn America into a fundamentalist version of a Salafist or Wahhabist Islamic state."
Scheduled for Thursday, May 1, the National Day of Prayer is a nationwide observance that involves events and ceremonies across the United States.
Taking place each year on the first Thursday in May, the annual Day of Prayer began in 1952 via a joint resolution passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
Chaired by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson, the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based task force ties its founding to the National Day of Prayer event.
"The National Day of Prayer Task Force's mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: government, military, media, business, education, church and family," reads its Facebook page description.
For the Day of Prayer, the task force is organizing a Capitol Hill event featuring scheduled speakers including the Dobsons, Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham; and Campus Crusade for Christ co-founder Vonette Bright, among others.
For its part, the U.S. Armed Forces will provide a band, a color guard, and also as yet determined speaker, reported the Military Times.
"This is not an attack on Christianity, this is not an attack on the National Day of Prayer. Its an attack on the usurper of the latter, which is the National Day of Prayer Task Force," Weinstein reiterated.
Weinstein also told CP that "it is likely there will be more letters" sent to the Pentagon regarding their objection to the involvement of the Pentagon with the task force.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.