Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Prayer Day

In the United States of America, today is "National Prayer Day."

This is embarrassing.

It's one thing to have this regrettable holiday on a calendar, but this is law. The President of the United States is required, by law, to proclaim this holiday!
"The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals." - 36 U.S.C. § 119
There has recently been some success in challenging this stain in our books. In a lawsuit initiated in 2008, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has sued Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, along with a few other relevant people, asserting that this law is unconstitutional. Earlier this year, U. S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in favor of this challenge, finding no secular advantage to the inherently religious law.

This would be a victory if not for the Obama administration's decision to appeal this ruling. Now, we wait to see whether a law that contradicts this country's constitution will be overturned or, as it very well may, continue to soil our soil.

After all, we haven't gotten rid of "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, nor the motto "In God We Trust," both of which were established only decades ago. Progress, indeed! Not to mention the official prayers before each session of Congress, or that we still swear an oath to a deity, on a religious text, in court!

Please excuse the exclamation points. Though based upon rational principles, my outrage is incandescent.

The persistence of religion as an accepted influence upon our government is worse than embarrassing. It harms the intellectual integrity of our most fundamental institutions.

Although some atheists would regret having the Church of Satan on their side, being misinformed bigots weighed down by big, fat Goodguy Badges, the rest should be glad to know that there is at least one religion that upholds atheism and the rationalism from which it springs.

Mr. Obama, tear down this law!

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