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Entries in National Day of Prayer (1)

Tuesday
Apr272010

A prayer for relief

My parents taught me that there are several things you should avoid discussing in polite company, at least until you get to know them better. Politics and religion are near the top of that list. Well, excuse me Mom and Dad, but everyone else has been discussing this in public lately. I’m talking about Judge Crabb’s decision in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Obama. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin held the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional. I don’t intend to rehash the arguments on either side. My question is why anyone wants the government to declare a day of prayer? Don’t most religions advocate prayer at least once every day? And the law merely provides that the President shall issue a proclamation establishing a day when Americans may turn to God in prayer. Isn’t this superfluous? Americans may turn to God in prayer any day they like, or every day, or never. The National Day of Prayer does not change that. So, regardless of whether this law is constitutional, the real question is why anyone cares? If I were an atheist, it would not make me feel any different about being an American. I would know that I was part of small minority with or without that law. And if I were a religious zealot, how does the law benefit me? Does my faith in, or need to pray to, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent creator really need the government’s help? If the government helps religion or prayer in the same manner that FEMA helped New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I think we would have a nation of atheists within a very short period of time. In other words, as Michael Kessler of Georgetown University said recently, “if you’re religious and want prayer recognized nationally, having the government do it is a really bad idea.” Amen. This law should be filed under “Be careful of what you wish for. You may get it.”