A midday ceremony at the statehouse to mark the National Day of Prayer featured a Baptist minister who used part of his prayer time to criticize the attention being paid to an NBA player who revealed he is gay.
The Reverend Keith Ratliff, Sr., of Des Moines resigned from the NAACP last year after the civil rights group endorsed same-sex marriage.
“What a time we live in, Lord, when some people are calling wrong right and right wrong,” Ratliff prayed today, “when athletes lifestyles are continually being used to promote non-scriptural living, to encourage our youth that if more people support it, it must be o.k.”
Three days ago, with a story in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins became the first athlete in a major professional sport to publicly acknowledge he is gay. Reverend Ratliff, during his prayer today, noted the media firestorm that followed Collins’ announcement.
“Many on TV say it is o.k. Many on the radio say it’s o.k. Many in the newspapers say it’s o.k. and even some ministers say it’s o.k., but woe unto us if we preach not the gospel,” Ratliff said in his prayer. “God’s word never changes.”
Ratliff has been a featured speaker at statehouse rallies organized by groups seeking a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Iowa. He has been a minister at the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church for over 30 years and is currently serving as administrator of the Joshua Christian Academy in Des Moines.
A dozen other people led the crowd in prayer during the National Day of Prayer event in Des Moines, including Michael Householder, senior pastor of the Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, one of Iowa’s largest churches.
“Gracious Lord God, thank you for this day that you have made for us to rejoice and be glad in it,” he prayed. “For even in the midst of the wind and the snow and the chill that is in the air, still there is joy for us today.”
There were prayers offered for the military, for businesses and their customers, for school administrators and school boards and for the media. Congress and President Harry S. Truman established The National Day of Prayer in 1952, to be held on the first Thursday in May. This year’s theme was “pray for America.”
AUDIO of last half of National Day of Prayer event in Des Moines 31:51