For the first time in years, no prayer service would be conducted at the U.S. Capitol as one evangelical leader from a Christian group was reportedly denied use of the venue.
According to Christian Headlines, after his request to host this year's National Day of Prayer at the Capitol building on Thursday, May 6, 2021, was refused, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said that "free speech is in danger today" in America.
He tweeted: "After our permit was denied, for the first time in 70 years, there will be NO PUBLIC witness at the U.S. Capitol Building for the National Day Of Prayer! Brothers and sisters, free speech is in danger today in America."
Mahoney asserted in a statement obtained by Charisma News that he would guarantee that the "People's House" is restored to the American people for the sake of exercising their First Amendment rights.
"It is deeply troubling for the first time in 70 years, there will not be a public prayer service at the United States Capitol Building on the National Day of Prayer," he said. "Every American needs to be asking the question, 'How is it possible to have public prayer prohibited at the Capitol on the National Day of Prayer?'-especially when it is a national observance designated by Congress."
He went on to add that the United States Capitol Building, dubbed the "People's House," must be a place that all Americans can openly enjoy and express their First Amendment rights, and that it's a shame that those rights and freedoms are being ignored and prohibited.
"I will continue to work to ensure the 'People's House' is returned to the people and the First Amendment is once again celebrated and honored at the United States Capitol," Mahoney concluded in the statement.
Mahoney was even refused permission to have a Good Friday service at the Capitol building, owing to the location being "closed" after the Jan. 6 unrest. Last year, amid the pandemic, the Good Friday service was kept, as citizens adhered to COVID-19 regulations.
Though the Capitol might not be the place where believers pray for the nation's soul, Charisma noted that some groups are using the 70-year-old anniversary to inspire worship and redemption on behalf of all Americans.
The report added that during then-President Trump's presidency, he praised God for the "gift of faith" at the White House National Day of Prayer observance in 2020.
It also went on to say that while God's people's prayers are heard every day, churches around the country are still planning to petition on May 6.
In 1775, the U.S. Congress first called for the national recognition of prayer, but it was not recognized as a formal celebration on the first Thursday of May until 1952. Following its inception, every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
But when rioters stormed the United States Capitol Building on Jan. 6, killing five people and injuring at least one, the building has been locked to the public.