By Arul Louis
Proclaiming the “National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts” in his official capacity as President, Trump on Saturday urged people of all faiths and traditions to unite with him in prayer.
“As your President, I ask you to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle,” the proclamation said.
“With God’s help, we will overcome this threat.”
Trump noted that because of the pandemic millions of Americans were unable to gather in churches, temples, synagogues and mosques.
Many religious leaders have cancelled worship programmes and in some cases asked their adherents to follow televised or live-streamed services.
While he was appealing to people of all religions, his proclamations included two Biblical quotations, but they spoke generally about God and were not specific to the Christian deity.
Prayers and religion play an important part in US public and political life despite its strict legal separation of church and state in other aspects.
Congress and most state legislatures begin their daily sessions with prayers and Hindu priests have taken turns making the invocation.
The US currency bears the words, “In God We Trust” and the national pledge of allegiance recited every day in most schools and before many ceremonial events calls the US “one nation under God”.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)