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Gov. Reynolds issues proclamation designating April 9 as "Day of Prayer"

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference about an update on the state's response to the new coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference about an update on the state's response to the new coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 9:08 PM CDT
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The governor of Iowa signed a proclamation on Wednesday calling on Iowans to "unite in prayer" during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the governor's office.

Gov. Kim Reynolds designated Thursday, April 9, 2020, as a "Day of Prayer" in response to the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Thursday is the first day of Passover, as well as the Christian holy day of Maundy Thursday.

“The power of prayer and faith in God is something that has guided so many of us in good times and bad,” Reynolds said, in a statement. “We have all been impacted by COVID-19. Some of us have lost a loved one and others know those who are sick. Whether you are a nurse on the frontlines fighting the pandemic, a grocery store worker, the truck driver making a delivery, or someone laid off at home, this has been a challenging and stressful time. Let us join together and pray for our neighbors, communities and state.”

Connie Ryan, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, issued a statement that said it was inappropriate for the governor's office to issue such a proclamation which only focused on a specific set of religious beliefs and practices.

“While many Iowans are people of faith who do pray as part of living out their faith beliefs, it is never the role of elected officials to promote any particular religion or any religious practice," Ryan said, in the statement. "The Governor should focus on the best practices in public health to ensure the safety and well-being of all Iowans, not the practices of any religion. Promoting religious practices is the role of faith leaders, not elected officials.”

ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Mark Stringer also issued a statement, saying the prayer violates religious freedom. Stringer said, "Calling for prayer to one particular God at this time divides us more than it unites us, and we sorely need leadership that brings our state together during this difficult time."

Read the governor's proclamation below:

WHEREAS,

our nation and world are suffering from a pandemic which has profoundly affected the well-being and livelihoods of millions of Americans; and

WHEREAS,

this health emergency has created fear and anxiety in the minds of thousands of fellow Iowans during this uncertain time; and

WHEREAS,

our nation’s motto is “In God We Trust”, with America being founded upon Biblical Judeo-Christian principles and values; and

WHEREAS,

God’s word teaches us to “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying”; and

WHEREAS,

throughout our history Iowans have found peace, strength, and unity through prayer to God in humbly asking for His strength during times of difficulty; and

WHEREAS,

prayer provides peace that surpasses all understanding and wisdom in times of crisis and conflict, turning us to God for His comfort and blessed assurance; and

WHEREAS,

God’s unconditional love by sending His Son, Jesus, to be Savior of the world is remembered and celebrated by Christians during Holy Week of Easter each year:

NOW, THEREFORE, I,

Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020 as a DAY OF PRAYER in the State of Iowa and encourage all Iowans to unite in prayer and ask God to comfort and bless all severely impacted; to protect medical care workers, first responders and all who are serving during this crisis; to grant wisdom, courage and strength to our local, state and national leaders; and give us all the hands and hearts to be generous with our time, skills, and resources to serve our neighbors within and alongside the many churches, non-profits, businesses, and other organizations providing relief.

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