Soldiers practice freedom of prayer
June 15, 2008
The Multi-National Corps - Iraq Chaplain's office hosted the annual National Prayer Breakfast at Al Faw Palace May 16.
The Palace rotunda was filled with people attending the event which included performances from the 4th Infantry Division Band Brass Quintet and the Stryker Band, "Not of this World."
"The National Prayer Breakfast is a great example of our country's guaranteed freedom to worship - whatever religion or belief," said Brig. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, chief of staff, MNC-I.
"General Allyn was an excellent speaker," Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Frederick, officer in charge of the event, said of Allyn's speech at the breakfast. "It was moving and motivating. What he said really hit the target."
"Today we get to celebrate our religious freedom, our diversity as a military force and the many blessings we've received as a nation," Allyn said. "Our religious freedom is a hallmark of the American tradition. The modern concept of religious freedom is an American creation. It weaves together the commitment to freedom of belief and freedom of worship without the chains of a government-directed religion."
"The founding fathers understood that the freedom to worship is an individual right, not a state responsibility," Allyn said. "We are blessed to have the freedom to worship according to our faith."
"The significance of the National Day of Prayer isn't the prayer itself; it is the freedom to pray, as you wish, on this day and any day," Allyn said. "As a nation, we are very fortunate that the framers of the Constitution and our country's founding fathers had the wisdom to institutionalize our freedom of religion over two hundred years ago."
"In 1952 President Harry S. Truman signed the National Day of Prayer into law," Allyn said. "The day was intended for everyone, regardless of their beliefs, to be able to pray together in their own way. It was made to embrace our national diversity."
"The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event that the military has embraced," Frederick said. "There are always big turn outs for the NPB."
"The NPB is not designed for one specific religion," Frederick said. "A lot of religions believe in prayer be it standing or kneeling."
"The National Prayer Breakfast brings a sense of patriotism," Frederick said. "We live in the United States where all faith groups are respected. It was a great event and I look forward to doing more."