This year's National Day of Prayer event at the U.S. Capitol appears to have been canceled after one evangelical leader was denied a permit to hold the prayer gathering at the building.
Since rioters breach the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, leaving five people dead and at least one injured, the building has been closed to the public.
The Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, contended that "free speech is in danger today" in America after his request to hold this year's National Day of Prayer at the Capitol building on Thursday, May 6, 2021, was denied.
"After our permit was denied, for the first time in 70 years, there will be NO PUBLIC witness at the U.S. Capitol Building for the National Day Of Prayer!" he tweeted. "Brothers and sisters, free speech is in danger today in America," he added.
After our permit was denied, for the first time in 70 years, there will be NO PUBLIC witness at the U.S. Capitol Building for the National Day Of Prayer! Brothers and sisters, free speech is in danger today in America. #ProtectFreeSpeech #ReligiousFreedom @mschlapp #USCapitol pic.twitter.com/iQlgRCa90g— Rev. Patrick Mahoney (@revmahoney) April 26, 2021
In a statement obtained by Charisma News, Mahoney contended that he will ensure that the "People's House" will be returned to the American people in expressing their First Amendment Rights.
"It is deeply troubling for the first time in 70 years, there will not be a public prayer service at the United States Capitol Building on the National Day of Prayer," the statement reads. "Every American needs to be asking the question, "How is it possible to have public prayer prohibited at the Capitol on the National Day of Prayer?"—especially when it is a national observance designated by Congress."
"The 'People's House," as the U.S. Capitol Building is so rightly called, must be a place where all Americans are afforded the right to come and peacefully celebrate and express their First Amendment rights," the statement continued. "Tragically, those rights and freedoms are being denied and prohibited."
"I will continue to work to ensure the 'People's House' is returned to the people and the First Amendment is once again celebrated and honored at the United States Capitol," Mahoney concluded.
Mahoney was also denied a permit to host a Good Friday service at the Capitol building because the area where the service was to be held was "restricted" following the Jan. 6 riots. Last year, the Good Friday service was held despite the pandemic, as people followed COVID-19 restrictions.
In 1775, the U.S. Congress first called for the national recognition of prayer, but it was not recognized as a formal celebration on the first Thursday of May until 1952. Following its inception, every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
Photo courtesy: Alejandro Barba/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.