AL.COM – Group asks military to withdraw from National Day of Prayer event sponsored by Alabama lawmaker

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An organization well-known for its criticism of religion’s influence on military culture is calling on the Pentagon to avoid participation in a National Day of Prayer event planned for Washington D.C. next month.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation President, said participation by the Pentagon would be an endorsement of fundamentalist Christianity.

“The planned participation by uniformed U.S. military personnel in this private fundamentalist Christian religious event, run by a non-federal entity, is an unequivocally clear violation of the plethora of (Department of Defense) regulations and instructions,” Weinstein wrote. “The U.S. military absolutely cannot endorse these searingly sectarian events by its public participation in them.”

Weinstein’s complaints focus on the National Day of Prayer Task Force the group that organizes the annual Washington, D.C. event. The task force’s chairwoman is Shirley Dobson, wife of James Dobson, founder of the Christian group Focus on the Family. This year’s event is May 1 and will include the Dobsons and honorary chairperson Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Rev. Bill Graham, along with current and former lawmakers.

A military band and color guard, as well as military speakers, are scheduled to take part.

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