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Opinion

‘National Day of Prayer’ in violation of religious freedom

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April 21, 2010

I congratulate District Judge Crabb for declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional.

You, ma’am, have taken another step towards true religious freedom in the United States. Our government needs a purely secular backdrop to operate.

Judge Crabb ruled on March 1st 2010 that the National Day of Prayer was unconsitutional because it is “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function”.

The ruling came in result of a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison Wisconsin, against the National Day of Prayer Task Force and several supporting politicians such as George Bush and President Obama.

Judge Crabb went on to explain her ruling by saying “adopting [the] defendants’ view of standing would allow the government to have unrestrained authority to demean members of any religious group without legal consequence.

The federal government could declare the ‘National Day of Anti-Semitism’ or even declare Christianity the official religion of the United States, but no one would have standing to sue because no one would have to ‘pass by’ those declarations.”

Why is something like this even being considered? I’m uneasy just reading the name of the holiday. A federal celebration dedicated to meditation and contemplation of the Christian God? I’m pretty postive that is in direct threat to our freedom of religion.

There’s no denying this is a Christian manifestation either, seeing as the NDOPTF is chaired by Evangelist Franklin Graham.

Graham is also the son of the famous TV evangelist Billy Graham.
Franklin Graham is also being ridiculed for scheduling a speaking engagement with the Pentagon on this National Day of Prayer.

Authorities against the speech are worried Graham’s anti-Muslim rhetoric could stir up anger at the Pentagon and with Muslim soldiers.

Graham was quoted in a New York Times op-ed piece as saying he wasn’t against Muslims but that ‘’as a minister …. I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching.’’

Mickey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said that the task force had every right to hold events that were based on Christianity, but that the Pentagon should not get too involved with the force because they require all who run these events to be Christian.

Since the Pentagon can not require anyone to be any religion, getting wrapped up with Graham’s group could blur the lines between Church and State.

And I compeletely agree. There is absolutely no reason why any branch or federal organization should be holding National Day of Prayer celebrations or having anything to do with NDOPTF.

There seems to be a large contigent of people, especially in the rural midwest, who don’t see how Christianity is already too large a part of our government’s workings.

There has never been a President of any minority religion and there wont be for a very long time. The United States, the founder of the Freedom of Religion concept, is among the most religious of all the developed nations.

We have too much of this in politics and installing a National Day of Prayer, honestly, is a concept that scares the hell out of me.

No pun intended.

I once again congratulate Wisconsin for making a move away from this rediculous statute and holiday. We can lead the nation in providing freedom and a secular government to our citizens.

Chaia means life and Kimi-Chaia Lindberg tries to live it to the fullest. Writing is what she loves. Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese and English are the words she uses. Tel Aviv is where she is inspired.

Comments

Leo Alberti on 03 May 2010: I'm glad there's at least one secular voice at this university. Keep up the good work! Doug: If you need God to settle your fears, then that's fine. However, telling us that we need him/her/it too just makes you an asshole. Come back when you're older. David: National Day of prayer is only 58 years old. It wasn't made with the birth of the nation, so no. It's not some ancient tradition. Now, while many Christians are undoubtedly tolerant of others' beliefs, that is not the same as the entire church. Many modern religions state themselves as the "one true" path, and that's what divides and creates fighting between them, prayer has no contribution either way. If we all just sat down and agreed that it doesn't matter what faith you follow, maybe we could work this stuff out. Sadly, that's a Utopian fantasy. P.S. The nation was founded by deists, not Christians. There's a difference. Check it out.

Andy on 27 Apr 2010: Christian extremists trying to make our nation into a theocracy like Saudi Arabia. Freaking weird.

Chaia on 27 Apr 2010: "Christian people have always respected the beliefs of others" I'm not sure this is true of anyone, in any religion. "Always" is the only thing that's "never" true. I think people get confused between having the majority of the population be of a certain religious persuasion and being a theocracy. Our Christian forefathers put in place a system to develope a secular state, despite their own beliefs. So we are not now nor will ever be (if we follow the Constitution) a Christian nation. This country was based on the idea of freedom of ALL religions. This statute negates their efforts.

Louise Dotter on 26 Apr 2010: WHY do Christians want to encourage public prayer, especially during governmental meetings, in public schools, on military bases etc. when their own scriptures state: Mark Chapter 6 vs5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words." Are they embracing "hypocrisy" or declaring themselves "heathens"?? Outstanding article!!! Thank you!

Matt on 26 Apr 2010: Well said my friend. Just when I was going submit to the government my way of praying (farting in the bathtub to the almighty Methane God) so it could be part of the required public holiday.

edwords on 23 Apr 2010: Citizens can pray in public all they want at events organized by churches with no govt.participation. Look how Focus On the Family has hijacked the event without a whimper from Pres.Obama!

david smith on 22 Apr 2010: The youth and zeal of the writer is to be admired, but when a Nation has a over 200 year history of setting aside a day to be thankful to their Creator, it seems she needs to look at the bigger picture. This country is great because the people are great and Christian people have always respected the belief of others. Religion by nature divides but that does not make it evil. Prayer by nature unites, maybe they should just forget the speeches.

Doug McFarland on 22 Apr 2010: Like it or not, the future will find you face to face with death, and praying to God won't seam like such a bad idea. That's all you'll have. Grow up!!!