WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Army’s chief of chaplains called for a day of "prayer and fasting" on April 8, apparently not realizing that the date coincides with the first seder of Passover.
Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, who is a Southern Baptist, issued a proclamation last month urging all Army chaplains to pray and fast April 8 during a 120-day "stand down" period which began Feb. 15 so that they could focus on suicide prevention awareness among soldiers, reports the Associated Baptist Press.
In an interview last week with Baptist Press, Carver said that he chose April 8 because it "is a Wednesday and prayer meeting night for Southern Baptists, so we really encourage not only Baptists but all local churches to pray for the military."
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation said it has received a number of complaints about Carver’s proclamation. The organization believes that it violates the Constitution because it designates a specific day "for the observation of sectarian practices outside a particular spiritual tradition" and states that Carver has no authority to make such a proclamation.