June 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

In a sharp break with his predecessor, President Joe Biden last month marked the National Day of Prayer (NDP) with a proclamation and appeared in a short video recognizing the event, but he held no ceremony at the White House.

President Donald Trump often used the NDP to unveil policy proposals designed to placate his Christian nationalist allies. While Biden refrained from using the May 6 event to issue any policy items, he did sign a proclamation recognizing the NDP, as federal law requires.

“The First Amendment to our Constitution protects the rights of free speech and religious liberty, including the right of all Americans to pray,” the proclamation read in part. “These freedoms have helped us to create and sustain a Nation of remarkable religious vitality and diversity across the generations. Today, we remember and celebrate the role that the healing balm of prayer can play in our lives and in the life of our Nation.”

Despite the religious language, several Christian nationalists attacked the proclamation for not including the word “God.”

In a tweet, far-right evangelist Franklin Graham asserted, “I was deeply saddened to read that President Biden is the first president to omit the word ‘God’ in his proclamation. That speaks volumes doesn’t it?”