Saturday, October 4, 2008

Should Americans Be Mandated to Pray?

Does it irritate you when someone says I will pray for you? No. Well, you should be happy then because President Bush wants everyone to pray. Not only should everyone pray, but the President proclamates a Day of Prayer for the nation. It is on the first Thursday in May. It happened last year, but not if the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has something to say about it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation thinks it violates a little something called the fucking Bill of Rights!!

From the AP:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued Friday in U.S. district court, arguing that the president's mandated proclamations calling on Americans to pray violates a constitutional ban on government officials endorsing religion.

The day of prayer, held each year on the first Thursday of May, creates a "hostile environment for nonbelievers, who are made to feel as if they are political outsiders," the lawsuit said.

The national proclamation issued this year asked God's blessings on our country and called for Americans to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is named in the suit because he is one of 50 governors who issued proclamations calling for the prayer day. The foundation is based in Madison.

This is a pretty ridiculous description of the lawsuit because this so called "day of prayer" is outrageous in my opinion. I respect people's religions and people's practice of them, but I do not want my government forcing me or even encouraging me to pray.

FFRF says: the government "aligns and partners" with the NDP Task Force as the official organizer of the National Day of Prayer. The NDP Task Force identifies itself online as "The National Day of Prayer 'Official Website.' " The task force has close ties to Focus on the Family (an organization that says the Founders intended a christian society not a secular one). Its chair person, Shirley Dobson, is married to Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and the task force is located in the Focus on the Family headquarters. Does that sound innocuous? There is more.

The task force proposes the wording of proclamations and chooses a yearly theme and a bible quote. In 2008, Psalm 28:7, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped" was selected by the NDP as its official biblical reference, and was recited in Bush's proclamation and in at least 15 gubernatorial NDP proclamations. Other governors picked up variations of the task force resolution template and the annual theme.

FFRF goes on to say: that the Establishment Clause "prohibits government officials and persons acting in joint and concerted action with government officials from taking actions that endorse religion, including specific religions in preference to others, as well as preferring religion over non-religion."

"Exhortations to pray in official Presidential proclamations do not constitute ceremonial deism solemnizing some other occasion," the Foundation asserts, but "constitute an end in itself intended to promote and endorse religion."

The Complaint notes that the prayer proclamations "create a bond between church and state," causing such violations as an official prayer breakfast organized on May 1, 2008, by Sheriff Dean Roland, Burnett Co., Wis.

Here is the Presidential Proclamation from the National Prayer Day of 2008. Read the proclamation for yourself, but this is how it begins: America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God's will in times of joy and of trial. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country's future in His hands.

That is enough for me to run to the nearest airport. This is not to say that prayer is not important and that many cultures and many peoples here in the United States rely on prayer, but proclaiming prayer is completely unconstitutional and proclaiming a belief in the almighty is downright scary to me. This is not a day of prayer, it is a day of Christian prayer. It belongs left out of our public sphere. Period.

No comments: