A Godless Message on the National Day of Prayer

The Great American Experiment Was Only Possible Because ‘Without God’s Blessings the Best of Human Counsels Are But Foolishness’                                                                                 

May 10, 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Biden’s proclamation in honor of the National Day of Prayer is facing reproach because it lacked the word “God.” It also did not include any Bible passages.

Religious conservatives came out in droves with harsh criticism as a listening audience would expect at least some reference to God when the topic is prayer. Roman Catholics are up in arms because President Biden claims to be a man of Catholic faith, yet he still could not muster up the courage to utter the Name of God in his proclamation.

Dr. Richard G. Howe was named Provost of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) on May 1, 2021, and commented about President Biden’s faux pas:

“Why are some Christians so exercised over the fact that President Biden left out the word ‘God’ in his National Day of Prayer Proclamation? There can be no doubt historically that the National Day of Prayer—finding its roots in the Provincial Congress in April 1775 and codified by Congress in Federal Law in 1952 and revisited in 1988—is a day set aside to pray for our country and its people to ‘the righteous Sovereign of the Universe’—God.

“It perhaps seems conspicuous to some that the word ‘God’ is absent in Biden’s proclamation. Granted, Biden does mention ‘the divine’ and maybe for some that should be enough. Perhaps in his acknowledgment of the religious diversity in America, he might feel a certain obligation of deference to those whose religion doesn’t acknowledge any ‘righteous Sovereign of the Universe.’ Or maybe Franklin Graham is right that the speech was written by a staffer and might not have been proofread or reflected upon by Biden. Graham expressed his desire to give Biden the benefit of the doubt and suggests that, had he noticed the oversight, Biden would not have approved it.

“It is difficult sometimes to speculate on what Biden might have been thinking in giving his speech with such a glaring omission. But perhaps, as regrettable as it is that God is absent, it should be of no surprise. Back on the campaign trail in March of 2020, Biden choked during his reciting the Declaration of Independence, apparently unable to bring himself to say the word ‘Creator’ and ended up saying, ‘All men and women created by — you know, you know, the thing.’ While it may seem like picking at nits for us to complain that Biden left God out, it is just one more piece of evidence of how far America has wandered from its roots of acknowledging that the great American experiment was only possible because ‘without God’s Blessings the best of human Counsels are but Foolishness.’” [John Hancock, Resolution of the Provincial Congress, April 15, 1775]

Dr. Richard G. Howe served as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Apologetics at SES, and was named SES Provost on May 1, 2021. Dr. Howe is a writer as well as a public speaker and debater in churches, conferences, and university campuses on issues concerning Christian apologetics and philosophy. Dr. Howe is the past president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, has presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and has interacted with leading Christian thinkers like William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Greg Koukl, and Frank Turek.

The mission of SES is to train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and defense of the historic Christian faith. SES offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees (along with several for-credit certificates) that uniquely integrate theology, philosophy, and apologetics to build a complete and systematic Christian worldview.

For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (704) 847-5600.


To interview Dr. Richard G. Howe of Southern Evangelical Seminary, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.