Today is the 58th annual National Day of Prayer, which, like so many things, has become quite politicized in recent years.
The National Day of Prayer became federal law in 1952, after heavy lobbying by Billy Graham and others. President Truman signed the bill.
The idea, at first, was pretty general: to inspire Americans to spend one day — the same day — in prayer and reflection, whether at church or at home.
In recent years, the day has become closely associated with the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a conservative evangelical group run by Shirley Dobson, the wife of Focus on the Family founder Jim Dobson. Many liberal and moderate Christians, among others, have complained that the day was hijacked by those with a very specific point of view.
President Bush invited religious leaders to the White House every year for a special prayer service.
President Obama chose not to, a move that is seen by some as anti-Day of Prayer. Obama did sign a proclamation this morning declaring a National Day of Prayer, but did not make a big deal of it.
Shortly after noon today, many Americans will gather in small groups outside their city and town halls to pray together.
So there you go.