On Thursday, May 6, New Vrindaban Community will dedicate its 7:00pm worship service to observing the National Day of Prayer. “Prayer is an integral part of the Hare Krishna faith,” said Malati Dasi, GBC in New Vrindaban. “We believe in a personal God who hears our prayers, just like a loving parent who hears the cries of his child. In Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Lord Krishna says, ‘I am the seed-giving Father.’
“President Obama said something quite profound at the National Prayer Breakfast last February. He said that prayer ‘can remind us that each of us are children of a awesome and loving God,’” said Malati. “President Obama hit the nail on the head. So many people speak of universal brotherhood. But how can there be universal brotherhood without a universal Father?”
National Day of Prayer began in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman signed a bill into law requiring every subsequent U.S. President to issue a proclamation designating an appropriate day each year as National Day of Prayer. Since then, every president has issued the proclamation. Later, in 1988, Congress amended the law, declaring that “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”
President Obama is expected to issue the required proclamation on May 7. In his 2009 proclamation, Obama discussed the historical precedent for National Day of Prayer, explaining that in 1775, the delegates to the Continental Congress had asked the colonists to observe “to observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer.” Later, during the Civil War, President Lincoln and the U.S. Congress asked the American people to pray for the fate of their Nation. 
National Day of Prayer is a controversial issue, drawing criticism from atheists and civil libertarians. Already this month, one federal court in Wisconsin has held that the federal law requiring the president to proclaim National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. On April 15, Judge Barbara Crabb declared that the law violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, and ordered Obama to not issue a proclamation.
President Obama will make the 2010 proclamation as planned despite the court’s ruling. “We have reviewed the court’s decision, and it does not prevent the president from issuing a proclamation,” said White House spokesman Matthew Lehrich in an e-mail to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal.
“New Vrindaban firmly supports National Day of Prayer,” said Malati. “The law does not violate the First Amendment. The law says that Americans ‘may turn to God in prayer and meditation,’ but in no way requires anyone to do so.”
Following National Day of Prayer on May 6, New Vrindaban Community will host the tenth annual Festival of Inspiration on May 7 – 9. Festival of Inspiration will include workshops on subjects such as yoga, photography, and spiritual economics. Even if people do not register for workshops, they can still enjoy the atmosphere. There will be food stalls; vendors with clothes, music and jewelry from India; and books on yoga and mysticism. In the evening, there will be free entertainment which is open to the public. For children, there will be guided activities and a fun bouncy castle.
New Vrindaban Community is located south of Moundsville – Wheeling, off Route 250. For more information, contact (304) 843-1600 x105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.