National Day of Prayer deeply rooted in American history

Those who’d have you believe church and state were never meant to mix are either oblivious to American history or demagogically defiant of it.

Boston Herald

May 3, 2007 – Post

Harmon Claiborne, pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church a few blocks away on Blue Hill Avenue, stood in front of a packed assembly hall at the Lewenburg School in Mattapan, asking his young listeners if they’d excuse him for a moment while the opening exercises got under way.

Claiborne was one of many community figures – firefighters, merchants, journalists – who’d volunteered to spend that day in the company of seventh and eighth graders, talking about career choices.

“Because of the ‘business’ I’m in,” he told them, smiling, “I would like to begin this special day with a word of prayer. But I’m told we’re not allowed to do that anymore, so I was wondering, would it be OK if I just stepped outside that back door and offered a silent prayer for all of you and for all these special guests who’ve come to visit you today?”

The kids roared their approval as he walked down the aisle, letting him know that, unlike timid administrators and fearful bureaucrats, they not only didn’t mind a prayer in their behalf, but welcomed it.

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