Jesus prayer closes Republican National Convention

Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Timothy Dolan was invited to offer a benediction to close the 2012 Republican National Convention in which Mitt Romney accepted his party’s nomination to run for president of the United States.

Deacon Keith Fournier, writing for Catholic Online, notes that Dolan’s prayer was “theologically rich, sincerly devout and verbally beautiful” in addition to asking “readers around the world to print the prayer and offer it as often as possible as the Fall Presidential campaign in the United States unfolds.”

Although most of my readers will not be printing the prayer or offering it as often as possible, I will reprint the prayer for purposes of scrutiny and invite my readers to do the same concerning parts which they find compelling or curious. I will examine just two portions of his prayer.

Dolan asks God to “stand in solidarity with all those who suffer” from natural disasters in the United States following Hurricane Issac which had delayed the Republican National Convention and wreaked havoc in the area. God doesn’t seem to favor the Republican Party or people in America since he had, if he exists, orchestrated a universe in which natural disasters are inevitable. One would think that an all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing god would do much more than “stand in solidarity.” If God existed, one would not expect to see an egregious amount of natural suffering which results from the “laws of nature” Dolan later mentions.

Ending the prayer, Dolan notes “we are indeed one nation under God” although the Constitution of the United States is secular in nature, the United States is not a theocracy, and a sizable amount of Americans do not adhere to the theology Dolan endorses whether they be ‘religious nones,’ Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, etc. While there may be many Christians in the United States, this does not constitute “one nation under God.” The secular character of our government instead points to ‘one nation under the Constitution.’

Here is the full text of Dolan’s prayer:

With firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, let us pray. Almighty God, Father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, we beg your continued blessings on this sanctuary of freedom, and on all of those who proudly call America home. We ask your benediction upon those yet to be born, and on those who are about to see you at the end of this life. Bless those families whose ancestors arrived on these shores generations ago, as well as those families that have come recently, to build a better future while weaving their lives into the rich tapestry of America. We lift up to your loving care those afflicted by the recent storms, drought, and fire. We ask for the grace to stand in solidarity with all those who suffer. May we strive to include your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free in the production and prosperity of a people so richly blessed. O God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us, and on those who would govern us: the president, and vice president, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and on all those who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office, especially Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. And help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. Almighty God, who gives us the sacred and inalienable gift of life, we thank you as well for the singular gift of liberty. Renew in all of our people a respect for religious freedom in full, that first most cherished freedom. Make us truly free by tethering freedom to truth and ordering freedom to goodness. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope and love, prudently and with justice, courageously and in a spirit of moderation. Enkindle in our hearts a new sense of responsibility for freedom’s cause and make us ever grateful for all those who for more than two centuries have given their lives in freedom’s defense. We commend their noble souls to your eternal care as even now we beg your mighty hand upon our beloved men and women in uniform. May we know the truth of your creation, respecting the laws of nature and nature’s God and not seek to replace it with idols of our own making. Give us the good sense not to cast aside the boundaries of righteous living you first inscribed on our hearts even before inscribing them on tablets of stone. May you mend our every flaw, confirming our soul in self control, our liberty in law. We pray for all those who seek honest labor as we thank you for the spirit of generosity to those in need [with] which you so richly blessed this nation. We beseech your blessing on all who depart this evening and on all those in every land who seek to conduct their lives in freedom. Most of all, Almighty God, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country. For we are indeed one nation under God, and in God we trust. Dear God, bless America, you who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

And a video: