- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer, and President Obama signed a proclamation in honor of the tradition. But don’t expect him to do much else.

He is reverting to the pre-Bush days, spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

The National Day of Prayer, a day when all faiths are asked to pray together, originated on April 17, 1952, the day President Truman signed legislation requiring the president to designate a day of prayer. The law was amended in 1988, when President Reagan set aside the first Thursday in May. During the George W. Bush years, various religious leaders were invited to the East Room, where prayers were offered.

The Obama White House is different.

“Prayer is something the president does every day,” Mr. Gibbs said. “We’re doing a proclamation, which I know that many administrations in the past have done.”

Why no formal ceremony?

“That’s the way the president will publicly observe National Prayer Day,” Mr. Gibbs said. “Privately he’ll pray as he does every day.”

• What do you think? Should presidents participate in formal ceremonies marking the National Day of Prayer? E-mail your comments to [email protected]

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