January 3, 2013
NSDAR is disappointed to learn that false and incorrect information has recently been circulated regarding the 2011 edition of the DAR Ritual and Missal and the use of the name Jesus Christ in prayers and other ceremonial events of the National Society. The purpose of this message is to clarify NSDAR’s position on the matter for anyone who has not previously viewed the blogs written by President General Merry Ann T. Wright.
First, the question was posed by a national media group that if the motto of DAR is God, Home and Country, then “…why is DAR taking out references to God…” in its printed material. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as currently written, the 113 page Ritual and Missal contains over 300 references to “Almighty God,” “Great God our King” (America hymn), “Our Heavenly Father,” “Heavenly Father,” “God of Hosts,” “God,” “Lord,” “Eternal God,” “Your Holy Spirit,” “Lord your God,” “Gracious Lord,” “Almighty and Everlasting God,” “Gracious Father,” and similar variations.
Second, the allegation has been leveled that Chaplains and others have been told not to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Again, this is an absolute falsehood. Each Chaplain and other officers are strongly encouraged to create their own prayers into which they may insert the name of Jesus Christ as deemed appropriate for the occasion and the audience. This is what the President General wrote in her blog of April 10, 2012 when questions about the change to the Ritual and Missal first arose:
The Executive Officers believe that the new Ritual and Missal can be used by members of any faith, substituting words as they wish, changing the prayers to suit the needs of the meeting in which they are being used. At our Executive meetings, knowing that we are all Christian, we pray in the Name of Jesus. When those are present whose faith is unknown, we pray in God’s name. However, we all recognize that when Christians pray in God’s name we are, indeed, praying in Christ’s name because the Christian faith believes in the Trinity of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We also understand that our Jewish members know God as Jehovah or Yahweh, Muslim members use the name Allah for God and there are those whose spirituality may have a still different higher power or none at all.
We have in no way mandated that one must or must not use the name of Jesus Christ in the prayers. In our DAR rituals, prayers are included. Most of the prayers begin with “Our Father” or “Almighty God” and end “in Your Holy Name.” Christ’s prayer, known as The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, Easter and Passover prayers and prayers for other religious observances are included.
The above passage also addresses the last major falsehood: that the name of Christ has been totally removed from the Ritual and Missal. That simply is not the case.
In promoting the importance of freedom of religion upon which our country was founded, our Founding Fathers intended for all religions and not one specific faith to be allowed and respected. The Constitution of the United States of America is clear on this issue as are many of the letters and writings of these great leaders. It was in spirit of our Founding Fathers desire for freedom of religion that the most recent changes to the Ritual and Missal were made. For those wishing to access prayers, songs, poems, etc. from past Rituals and Missals, they have all previously been posted to the website and are available for use by all members at: Forms & Publications – Ritual and Missal http://members.dar.org/publ_forms/?List=Rit_and_Miss
To view previous communications from the President General regarding revisions to the Ritual and Missal, please view the following:
DAR Ritual and Missal 4/10/12 http://blog.dar.org/2012/04/10/dar-ritual-and-missal/
Ritual and Missal Follow-up 5/11/12 http://blog.dar.org/2012/05/11/ritual-and-missal-follow-up/
Rituals and Missals Now Available Online 10/10/12 http://blog.dar.org/2012/10/10/rituals-and-missals-now-available-online/
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