The folks behind the National Day of Prayer observances have taken a page from Tim Pawlenty’s playbook and produced a slick movie-like trailer to promote the upcoming (May 5) event. As a roiling storm gathers over–surprise!–San Francisco and Washington, DC, an intrepid band of believers gathers somewhere in the Real America heartland to battle the forces of evil with prayer. That’s a little intense for the annual event, which was originally designated by Congress in the 1950s to encourage Americans to simply “turn to God in meditation and prayer.”
But it reflects a belief popular in some evangelical circles of the existence of an actual ongoing spiritual battle in which religious believers battle the forces of evil through the power of prayer. Even Hillary Clinton has used the phrase “prayer warriors” to describe those who pray for her. This particular spiritual battle, however, has a partisan flavor. In the past few years, religious conservatives have accused Obama of “cancelling” the National Day of Prayer because while he still issues an official proclamation for the event, he does not observe it with a White House celebration as George W. Bush did.
Given the repeated images in this video of ominous storm clouds of evil hovering over the Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court, it’s not surprising that religious conservatives are gearing up again not so much to turn to God in meditation as to battle the godless and possibly Muslim forces who have taken over the government.