Research, investigation better for opinions than blind biases

By Angela Abbamonte

My Twitter and Facebook news feeds often glow with short exclamations emphasizing the political opinions of my friends and professionals I follow. Throughout the day I find myself looking at different sides of different stories in an attempt to stay informed about what is going on in the world. One day, I was bombarded by a bold statement: Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer.

This chatter left the Internet and I heard people talk about it in passing. The President of the United States had canceled the National Day of Prayer and the Supreme Court ruled the observance unconstitutional. This is an outrage.

At this point, the journalist in me perked up. Did President Obama really cancel the National Day of Prayer? Is it now considered unconstitutional by the high court?

Both of these things that people were getting so infuriated about are not true.

Obama has not canceled the National Day of Prayer. Last year, he did not hold services at the White House as George W. Bush had, but Obama did issue a proclamation declaring May 7, 2009, the National Day of Prayer for the year.

This year, according to a White House spokesperson, he is expected to do the same.

The day of prayer was ruled unconstitutional, but not by the U.S. Supreme Court. A Wisconsin federal district court ruled in favor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, April 15, that the federal statute stating the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer violates the Establishment Clause, which prohibits a national religion or government favoring one religion over others.

The federal government filed a notice of appeal to the Wisconsin court, April 22. The United States will appeal the court’s ruling and their decision that the Freedom from Religion Foundation had standing in their argument.

In my investigation about a national issue, I learned how political biases can taint our perception. Instead of hearing rumors and forming your thoughts around chatter, inform yourself through research prior to sharing your opinions.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.