Has the National Prayer Breakfast Become a Partisan Event?

Often titles with questions are ways of saying something without committing to it. In this case, I really don’t know the answer to the question.

Today is the annual National Prayer Breakfast, an event facilitated by the Fellowship Foundation but one with the feeling of government sponsorship due to the involvement of numerous Representatives and Senators as well as every president since Eisenhower. Trump will speak today.

Of late, TYT Network’s (The Young Turks) Jonathan Larsen has been doing extensive reporting on the operations of the Fellowship Foundation. In a story out Tuesday, Larsen sited a 2018 blog post in which I noted that Fellowship volunteer leader Doug Burleigh seemed unusually partisan toward Donald Trump.

Larsen reports evidence that those now leading the Fellowship Foundation fund Republican political causes and are strongly in Trump’s court. If this becomes a wide spread perception around the world and in Washington, I think the Fellowship’s influence will decline. Being perceived as non-partisan was a value of the late Doug Coe and accounted for the success of Coe in attracting an impressive array of political figures from both parties to their list of supporters.

In a previous article, Larsen also reported that the Fellowship implemented new rules designed to make clear the Fellowship’s opposition to use of the NPB for influence peddling. For those interested in the NPB and the work of the Fellowship, I recommend that article and a review of those new rules which the Fellowship supplied to Larsen in full.


10 thoughts on “Has the National Prayer Breakfast Become a Partisan Event?”

  1. ” A Christian charity with ties to the National Prayer Breakfast reported unspecified expenses associated with having Russian guests attend the event in 2017 and possibly other years, federal tax documents show.

    The guests may have included people picked by convicted Russian agent Maria Butina as part of a plan to create back-channel connections with U.S. policy-makers, many of whom attend the breakfast. One leader of the charity appears to match details the FBI has given about an unnamed breakfast organizer who aided Butina.

    In her plea agreement, Butina admitted to acting as an agent of the Russian government without registering with the Justice Department.

    The FBI says that Butina and her handler — widely reported to be Alexander Torshin, a Russian official said to be close to President Vladimir Putin — attended the breakfast to influence U.S politics. The tax records reviewed by TYT represent the first indication they may have received direct financial support in their efforts.

    “[I]n furtherance of the conspiracy,” Butina’s plea deal says, “Butina helped [Torshin] organize a Russian delegation to the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast… [Torshin] directed Butina to include certain people.”

  2. The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop spoke briefly, but I’m quite sure the current president didn’t listen, as he was speaking on “One Corinthian,” not “Two Corinthians.”

  3. No surprise to me. The religious right have been hijacking the National Day of Prayer for well over a decade already. I had to dig a little, but I actually found an old blog post of mine from 2006 detailing how Shirley Dobson, James Dobson’s wife was presented as the “chairman of the National Day of Prayer” and how they managed to con around half the states into declaring a motto concocted by their private organization (“task force”) the “theme” of the National Day of Prayer.

    Here’s the original blog post: National Day of Prayer Hijacking Complete

    The information is a little out of date, of course, though Dobson is still referred to as “Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman emeritus” on their About page, and you still have to dig into the FAQ to find the true sectarian nature of the site.

    1. Agree. I’m trying to think of some Dems who might actually be all about this type of effort and, um… I got nothin’.

Comments are closed.