Praying for President Obama: Prayer in politics: Piety or pandering?

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  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Oct. 27, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    Praying for someone, for whatever reason, harms nobody.

    Prayer is certainly favorable to bashing someone or lying about them.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Oct. 26, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    Prayer is a device invented by religious cowards by which they can convince themselves and one another that they are doing something valuable while failing to take any real or consequential actions to help others or actually solve problems.

    The religious people I know are much more likely to neglect helping the hungry, but will "pray for them". They will ignore the homeless, but will "pray for them". They will ignore their neighbors (except to try and convert them), but will "pray for them". They will be too busy with their callings to actually help a sick, bed-ridden person, but will "pray for them".

    Prayer is not worth the spittle it produces.

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    Oct. 25, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    Prayer on behalf of the nation or its leaders is a good thing, I would even say it is vital. But when those prayers are offered in public, they must be non-partisan and separated from any attempt to influence voters. The only poltical consideration I would make out of prayer is voting against those who either abuse prayer for political purposes or who seek to limit the right to pray.

  • blur Murray, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    Is it somehow wrong to pray for wisdom greater than that which we posses when we start a public meeting? Is it wrong to pray for wisdom to solve a problem with complex issues and outcomes? Is it right for me to get offended if somebody chooses to pray in a manner different than mine?

    I don't know if politicians are pandering or not when they talk about prayer in public or if they believe in praying in public. My guess is that some of the time they are. My hope is that they are sincere in general about prayer in their lives;
    at least then we know they don't think they have all the answers.

    As far as Abraham Lincoln's quote; maybe when we are praying for something, we need to make sure we aren't praying against someone.

    Oct. 24, 2011 9:50 p.m.

    This sort of thing just kills me. Absolutely kills me. Governor Perry prays fervently for rain and no rain comes. How are you supposed to interpret that one? God said no? God said yes, but not now? Insufficient faith? They were praying to the wrong God? Rest assured, the devout will always find a way to turn the undesired result into a affirmation of their faith, just like those who thought the world would end on October 21.

    "That his eyes may be opened". What do you call a prayer that is actually a backhanded insult?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:49 p.m.

    'I pray for President Obama every day ,,, I pray that he will find another line of work because being President isn't a job he is qualified for and we are about to lose our country as a result of it.' - CJ | 6:28 p.m. Oct. 24, 2011

    Weren't we supposed to 'loose our country' if people ELECTED Obama?

    Now, it's which TERM Obama serves?

    Next it will be we will 'loose our country' if Obama takes his dog for a walk?

    This October 21st was supposed to be the end of the world. The Rapture.

    You claim the 'sky is falling' so many times before people ignore you.

    Oh, and Osama Bin Laden is dead, Ghadaffi is dead and Obama is bringing the troops home from Iraq.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:13 p.m.

    Can someone can prove that prayer has ever affected any outcome?

    Yes, it may console the person doing the praying, but not much else.

    Disagree? Fine. Make an argument that proves that praying changes anything.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    Oct. 24, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    Uhh Pandering for sure. And this should have ended when Ben Franklin's idea for prayer during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was shot down. Our founding fathers knew better, regardless of what the modern revisionist say. Religion and Politics Don't mix... unless you like a Theocracy! And I seem to recall we rebelled against exactly that when we formed this country and told the King of England and his clergy to take a hike! Religion in politics - simply divisive!

  • freddysheddy Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 7:11 p.m.

    Again! I just commented on another story--this is the second article from DesNews I have read today--and both are not original articles. Instead the DesNews is trying to pull of some weird sort of citing, hyperlinking, and summarization. And the summaries are always bad and slanted. The DesNews is by far the worst news organization in the state for the simple fact that they can't produce original content!

  • CJ Murray, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 6:28 p.m.

    I pray for President Obama every day ,,, I pray that he will find another line of work because being President isn't a job he is qualified for and we are about to lose our country as a result of it.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 6:24 p.m.

    @A voice of reason
    "Prayer does not establish a state religion, but the acceptance of religious belief in this country. This is our first constitutionally protected right; even the very founding right of this nation- to freely believe and speak according to the dictates of our own conscience. Praying in public, in state meetings, in schools, or any other venue takes NO rights away from others"

    I'll believe that when Speaker Boehner invites Congressman Ellison to give a prayer.

  • barbararidinglowe Goshen, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    We are asked to pray for our enemies and those who dispitefuly use us as well as our friends. I think praying for those who are our enemies helps us be forgiving. As I see God, it allows God to deal with all people in His own way. All have to suffer the consequences of their own actions whether good or evil. It takes the burden of judgement off of our shoulders and puts it on His shoulders.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    Prayer used in politics is nearly always pandering. Prayer and a belief in religion was hotly contested by our founding fathers - both sides were represented. Thomas Paine was jailed for speaking out against churches and religious dogma others vehemently believed. Great that was over 200 years ago...have we learned nothing?

    Prayer is used to replace reason and thoughtful debate. It's sold as a solution in and of itself. It's impolite to criticize a prayer.

    Mostly politicians use it to deflect attention and as a credential.

    You don't have to look around very hard to find lots of politicians and religious leaders who talk a great game to distract from who they really are: Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, Mark Foley, Roy Ashburn, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Joe Barron and the list could go on and on.

    If you believe prayer works, then do it. But suggesting that public prayer is not an endorsement of religion is pure folly. How else can "in Jesus name we pray" be reasonably construed?

    I admire people of faith who don't use it as a credential. Once they use it, I know to be on-guard.

    I don't

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 4:43 p.m.

    Seems like pandering. When I see Athletes kneel after a touchdown, it seems out of place and for the sake of spectacle, not honoring the Almighty. Set a good example, live a good life, keep your prayers in your bedroom with your spouse

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Oct. 24, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    Dadof5sons is correct. We should pray that the President makes the right decisions.
    Yesterday the partition was opened between the chapel/overflow and the assembly room where our ward has sunday school. The closing prayer was that President Obama would be able to do all that he promised. I personally believe that what he promised runs afoul of church teachings and the constitution but that's another subject.
    What I believe should have been asked for, and what I have previously asked for, was to bless the President to make the right (meaning correct or in line with the Lord) decisions.
    Thinking about it for a second, in D&C134:5 there are those words "while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights" I am not writing anything about what should be done to any, even some future leader while that leader is outside those qualifications. I would only hope that everyone does what is right. Don't pin me down with "what is right?".

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    I feel very strongly that the God I pray to in earnest in my bedroom is not very impressed by his childrens' attempts to out-church each other in public.

    If the purpose of prayer is to seek God's blessing, why must it be done in public? If it must be done in public, what other purpose could the prayer have than to be seen of men?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    Pagan, typically when you say "good day" you are done debating. If so, I am not sure if this will be read. But I feel I should reply, if only to say I wasn't offended by you whatsoever.

    2 points- 'secondary' and what troubled me.

    I should have said 'resulting problem' of "freedom vs modern equality", which I argue are incompatible in governance.

    In reality, I think most of us have similar goals regarding freedom. I simply feel many are mislead by deceptive logic. I'll have you know, I once was VERY liberal. Believe it or not, I even questioned the LDS stance on gay marriage initially. Although I have learned, when in doubt- I pray knowing I always get an answer eventually. This is why I see no conflicting LDS doctrines. One can hear the logic a thousand times, but I've only ever found certainty or understood clearly through prayer. Though I shared some of your disagreements, I now clearly see their conclusion. It isn't happiness, peace, love, or anything good. It most certainly is not the path to freedom it advertises.

    Pagan, I'm sorry for any incivilities. Like many, I certainly loose sight of kindness sometimes.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 1:53 p.m.

    'Prayer in politics is secondary to this point...' - A voice of Reason | 1:15 p.m. Oct. 24, 2011

    But this is the point of the article VOR.

    So, the point of the article has to be SECONDARY to your point..?

    Also, you simply provided more of your support your own logic. That is circular reasoning and supports your reason...only because you think it does.

    When presented with factual examples of how prayer can harm, like reparative therapy, you 1) Present no evidence and 2) Present your own reason to support your own reason, which is 'reason enough.'

    I apologize if I have offended you in such a way to cause you to back track in such a manner.

    Good day to you.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    And for those faiths that do not have prayer? Rather a meditation?

    I'm not stopping them from meditation or 'not praying'. You are comparing an apple to an orange. Forcing someone NOT to pray is one thing. I can't force an atheist to stop thinking 'God isn't real'.

    If they don't want to pray or participate in a prayer, no one is infringing that right. Forcing me not to is ACTUALLY interfering. Again Pagan, you missed my point- which is that equal rights to freedom and getting served an equal portion are different and incompatible. That's the core of my argument and if you want to address something- you'd be more effective addressing that issue. Prayer in politics is secondary to this point, being the core cause of the dispute.


    I have MORE than adequately provided reason to support my views. I can hardly say that about liberal arguments which only argue to remove freedom.

    The founding fathers also had prayer in such meetings- but I suppose liberals think they were being unconstitutional also. I guess they drafted a brilliant document that they didn't even understand.

    The Supreme Court made the same false claim in Roe v Wade.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 1:00 p.m.

    'Prayer does not establish a state religion...' - A voice of Reason | 12:45 p.m. Oct. 24, 2011

    And for those faiths that do not have prayer? Rather a meditation?

    Here, let's even take this further...

    Results to pray away...orientation.

    *'Marcus Bachmanns Gay Cure - By Michelle Goldberg - The Daily Beast - 07/10/11

    'Yet when the City Pages reporter asked Marcus if his clinic performs so-called reparative therapy a widely discredited technique meant to turn gay people straight Marcus denied it.'


    *'Psychologists nix gay-to-straight therapy' - AP - 08/05/09

    'The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday...(sic) No solid evidence exists that such change (to orientation) is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.'

    ...suicidal tendencies.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    John Smith prays in senate session.

    Liberals complain.

    The last time I checked, praying doesn't infringe other people's rights. (Uh, no officer... he didn't shoot me, he prayed against me!)

    Prayer does not establish a state religion, but the acceptance of religious belief in this country. This is our first constitutionally protected right; even the very founding right of this nation- to freely believe and speak according to the dictates of our own conscience. Praying in public, in state meetings, in schools, or any other venue takes NO rights away from others. Forcing people to conform to your behavior because they are part of the state IS INDEED forcing them to act according to your beliefs. So while this anti-religious liberal rhetoric may deceive the masses into thinking prayer 'doesn't belong' in something that we all own a share of (our government), the real issue is whether those who desire to offer a prayer can do so without being prohibited by others.

    The founding fathers ordained our government to protect the freedom that modern liberalism would end in favor of equal treatment (aka: equal distribution). Equality means equally free, not equally entitled to what belongs to others.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    Pandering. Which is not to say that politicians can't or shouldn't have faith, but faith is personal, and we've got enough in common without bringing faith into it such that we can co exist and make our society work. But religion (not necessarily faith) has bullied itself into the national discourse that there now is a religious test for office,and you do have to pass the test if you want in. Ya gotta pander. That's why it's important for churches to make sure they have a mainstream brand image, and we sure see that now.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    Prayers in many ways may relate to positive thinking and make for a good out come provided there is constructive follow up of real action. Otherwise it is little more helpful than a quite nap.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    As I see it we should pray for the President no matter what party he belongs to. To help him make the right choices for America to be protected and watched over by the Almighty God! Nothing wrong with that!

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    Prayer in public was not looked upon with much favor, with the Savior.
    What is prayed for in private is so much more important.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:28 a.m.

    Once again Pagan, I'm utterly lost in how your comment remotely relates to the actual subject at hand.
    It is interesting to study and review the history of our country to see how much prayer and religion was a regular part of how this country was founded and organized.
    If you have the smallest doubt, go and spend a day in the DC area and see what you see.
    Sadly, people today continue to try to detract from the simplest truths that were so commonplace in a society that many nowdays try to forget or rewrite.
    Thank Heaven we have multiple sources of truth in our recorded histories today.

  • Sutton Cedar City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    my vote... Pandering.

  • S.Andrew Zaelit Deseret, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    It is both, but that is what makes America unique. Politicians have always been playing both sides going back to colonial days. The trick is actually holding to your moral values, and getting elected in the next cycle. There are very few politicians serving today that will put values, ethics, morals, and religion ahead of party dogma.