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Land, Reccord, others ask Bush to proclaim day of reconciliation

WASHINGTON (BP)–Southern Baptist Convention entity heads Richard Land and Robert Reccord have joined other evangelical leaders in asking President Bush to declare Nov. 21 as a National Day of Reconciliation.

In a letter to the president, the 11 Christian leaders urged him to set aside the day before Thanksgiving in order that “Americans of all faiths could seek reconciliation, not only with God, but also with each other.”

As of the morning of Nov. 19, the White House apparently had issued no such proclamation or executive order. On Nov. 16, Bush issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, which is a presidential tradition.

Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, signed on to a letter from Bill Bright, founder and chairman of Campus Crusade for Christ. Others endorsing the letter included James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, and Chuck Colson, chairman of Prison Fellowship.

In the Nov. 2 letter, the leaders thanked Bush for the manner in which he has led the United States since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. They said the president’s call for a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance three days after the attacks was “pivotal in turning us all back toward our great God and Savior.”

A proclamation of a day of reconciliation would “take our great country a step further,” they wrote. Such a day of repentance or reconciliation has been a typical response in American history when the country has been attacked, they said. Such days were set aside during the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War, according to the letter. The Old Testament also provides examples of national leaders calling for times to pursue reconciliation with God, they wrote.

“We believe that a Day of Reconciliation with prayer is essential to the protection of our homeland and our troops during the war on terrorism,” the letter said. “Perhaps this will also usher in a revival that would multiply the works of faith-based ministries working hand-in-hand with government throughout the nation.”

Others signing on to the letter were Pat Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network; Tony Evans, a Dallas pastor and head of The Urban Alternative; James Robison, founder of LIFE Outreach International; Thomas Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; John Perkins, president of the John M. Perkins Foundation; and Paul Cedar, president of Mission America.

The Senate and House of Representatives have approved resolutions authorizing a meeting in the Capitol as part of a National Day of Reconciliation. The Senate version called for the event to be either Nov. 27 or Dec. 4.