Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

April 29, 2014

Our heritage

Prayer day reminds us that religious freedom is vital

When the National Day of Prayer is observed May 1 in Cumberland, the Queen City’s event will be one of  an estimated 35,000 prayer gatherings being conducted across the United States.

The website timeanddate.com notes that 40,000 volunteers will be involved in this year’s national observance, carrying on a tradition that can be traced to 1775 when the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation.

On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer — thus our observance of May 1 this year.

The Cumberland event will include a public prayer rally today at 7 p.m. at Central Assembly of God Church, 2020 Bedford St.

The National Day of Prayer Breakfast wil be held May 1 at 8 a.m. at the Ramada Inn, 100 South George St. Elmer Towns, the author of dozens of books and co-founder of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., will be the speaker for the prayer breakfast.

An outdoor event, free and open to the public, will be held May 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Downtown Cumberland Mall at Centre and Liberty streets. Prayers for local, state and national leaders will take place from noon to 1 p.m. with the theme, One Voice, United in Prayer.

A youth rally will be held May 2 at 7 p.m. at Allegany High School with rapper/evangelist Nick Veterello performing.

These events are a reminder of something the Founding Fathers considered so important they included it in the First Amendment to the Constitution — freedom of religion. Although it has at times been a source of contention, this freedom has served us well throughout our history. Not everyone on this planet is as fortunate in this respect as we are.

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