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Apparently, some of our representatives are passing unconstitutional declarations

Unbelievable, I know — especially when there are so many right wing guardians of the Constitution and every word of the Founding Fathers in office. But they’re the ones shredding the Constitution!

I guess today has been declared a National Day of Prayer by congress, in complete violation of the first amendment. A Montana judge explains exactly why this is a bad idea.

So, besides violating the principle of separation of church and state, what’s wrong with a national (or state) day of prayer?  First, Americans don’t need a congressional proclamation to tell them to pray; they already have a personal, constitutional right to pray – or not to pray – as they (not the government) see fit.

Second, government is not permitted to be in the business of telling people whether to pray, when to pray or who to pray to.

Third, the National Day of Prayer has become a vehicle for spreading religious misinformation and fundamentalist Christian doctrine under the aegis of the government – again precisely what the framers were seeking to prohibit.

Feel free to pray or not pray today – not in response to a congressional proclamation but because you have a constitutional right to do either. But, if you choose to pray, you may want to ask that our elected officials begin to honor the letter and spirit of the First Amendment and respect the separation of church and state.

After all, each previously swore an oath to do just that.

I choose to honor this day by blatantly and offensively not-praying all day long. And anyone who dares to ask me to pray is going to get two middle fingers, rampant, and a suggestion that they go tell their god to go fuck himself, from me, because I don’t talk to imaginary entities.

Comments

  1. blf says

    Oh Great Magic Sky Faeries,

    We’d like to thank you all for all the tornadoes and tsunamis,
    Hurricanes and H-bombs,
    Seizures and stomach aches,
    Politicians and… — er, can we get back to you all on that politician point? —
    Global warming and gnuck dumped in the water, in the sky, on the land, and in our children’s heads,
    Koachroach brothers and other catastrophes,
    and last but not least,
    Your lousy aim.

  2. davidnangle says

    I remember reading something (from Heinlein?) about how Communism wouldn’t work because of fundamental human behavior. And incidents like… ALL OF OUR POLITICS have convinced me that the vast majority of Americans are fundamentally opposed to the core concepts of the United States. The Constitution, the Preamble, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and probably most of what Lincoln said during his life.

    They claim to love something… a colorful flag, a euphonic appellation, the landscape around them… but not the defining characteristics that make them different. The majority of the population would give it all up in a heartbeat. For a promise of a tiny bit of safety, a $300 rebate check from the government, or soothing, empty words from an unctuous propagandist.

  3. atheistblog says

    If you tell me to pray, then go and try to reproduce yourself (that’s much better, polite, hehehee).

  4. blf says

    International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day

    To be followed by International van Goth Flower Paintings Day, acute psychotic disagreements with ears optional.

  5. julial says

    davidnangle @ 4

    For a promise of a tiny bit of safety, a $300 rebate check from the government, or soothing, empty words from an unctuous propagandist.

    Let’s not forget the ‘free’ ringtones.

  6. peptron says

    I don’t understand their hypocrisy…

    Why not just say that they don’t like the 1st amendment and then push to have it changed as they see fit? The constitution has been amended in the past and can be amended in the future. It’s meant to be flexible.

  7. twas brillig (stevem) says

    As taught to me by Saint Zelazny:
    Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to ensure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

  8. says

    Operation American Spring is the quintessential blending of politics and religion. A bunch of religious zealots posing as defenders of the constitution. Their original plan was to have 10 million people meet on the Washington Mall on May 16 and sit there, for months if necessary, until the government resigns. Lots of talk how God and Jesus are behind them, directing them, working for them. I’ve been following OAS closely for a couple months. You might find my facebook page interesting:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Operation-American-Spring-Failure/716275098392744
    I enjoy your blog. Keep it up.

  9. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re peptron:

    Looking at the 21st vs 18th Amendments are you? Yes, your question is totally relevant. If they claim that the majority of the US is Christian, then why don’t they just write up a new amendment declaring that clause in the 1st to no longer be valid, that this new amendment establishes that Christianity is the National Religion. [but then there will be all the kerfuffle about exactly which variety of Christianity to nationalize…] But all this is their own cognitive dissonance: The Constitution is ‘Carved in Stone’, people can’t just change it at will. The Founding Fathers were the Moseses of the day, bringing the Constitution from the mountain… blah, blah, blah….

  10. waydude says

    “..tell their god to go fuck himself, from me, because I don’t talk to imaginary entities.”

    Aaah, but if you don’t believe in their god then how can you tell it to go fuck himself? Checkmate Athiest! Everything I know I learned from God’s not Dead.

  11. qwints says

    I’m sure the fact that it’s on International Workers’ Day is a coincidence.

  12. truthspeaker says

    They haven’t even read the Bible they claim to follow. How can you expect them to read the Constitution they claim to revere?

  13. MJP says

    I’m sure the fact that it’s on International Workers’ Day is a coincidence.

    The federal government has also declared not one, but two authoritarian potato holidays, Law Day and Loyalty Day, on May 1st in a blatant attempt to supplant the actual May Day.

  14. procyon says

    I started not praying as soon as I woke up this morning. I continued to not pray all the way up and through lunch and plan on not praying the rest of the day.

  15. David Marjanović says

    I guess today has been declared a National Day of Prayer by congress, in complete violation of the first amendment. A

    via Montana judge explains exactly why this is a bad idea.

    PZ, this looks like you lost a line there.

    I’m sure the fact that it’s on International Workers’ Day is a coincidence.

    The federal government has also declared not one, but two authoritarian potato holidays, Law Day and Loyalty Day, on May 1st in a blatant attempt to supplant the actual May Day.

    Come on now. How many of them, do you believe, even know that today is Labor Day?

  16. says

    The closest I’ve gotten to a prayer is a loud “Jesus Fuckety Fuck Fuck!” after I stabbed myself with a needle for the 11th time today.

  17. mikehuben says

    I don’t see why there is anything unconstitutional. All you have to do is correctly name it: National Talk To An Imaginary Friend Day.

    Alternatively, it could be ridiculed with conspicuous prayers to Satan.

    Maybe we should have National Call To Jihad Day the same way?

  18. blf says

    Maybe we should have National Call To Jihad Day the same way?

    National Call to Jihad, Crusade, Milkhemet Mitzvah, and Pogrom Days.

  19. anuran says

    Awful but symbolic small potatoes. A “day of prayer” is bad. But it doesn’t specify that you have to participate or what group decides on the prayers.

    This is infinitely worse:

    The Iowa Republicans running for Senate have declared

    they would block any federal judge appointee who did not have a “biblical view of justice” or follow “natural law” as handed down from God.

    When asked by moderator and right-wing commentator Erick Erickson what criteria they would use in confirming federal judges, the candidates tried to one-up each other to emphasize the importance of Biblical law. Sam Clovis, who recently asserted that Obama remains in office solely because Republicans are afraid of impeaching a black president, said any judicial nominees must be able to “explain to me natural law and natural rights.” Matt Whitaker went even farther, specifying that judges must be “people of the faith” with “a biblical view of justice.” State Sen. Joni Ernst stressed that judges must have an “understanding where the Constitution came from and our laws, and they all did come from God.”

    “No religious test”? Gone.
    Independent judiciary? Gone.
    Establishment clause? Gone.

  20. Geral says

    I got copied in a distribution list at work of an email inviting people to gather at the flagpole to pray.. I was thinking, maybe we need a Day of No Prayer, and we can all gather around and appreciate the world for what it is.

  21. David Chapman says

    2
    ebotebo

    The world is populated by fools.

    4
    davidnangle

    I remember reading something (from Heinlein?) about how Communism wouldn’t work because of fundamental human behavior. And incidents like… ALL OF OUR POLITICS have convinced me that the vast majority of Americans are fundamentally opposed to the core concepts of the United States. The Constitution, the Preamble, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and probably most of what Lincoln said during his life.

    Don’t blame it on human nature folks. That’s what the Pope will tell you; that’s
    what They want you to believe. I can tell you with vivid certainty, I was more intellectually active and focussed before I went to [ i.e., was incarcerated within ] my Irish secondary school ( equivalent to American High School ) then after. Before I went there, my brain worked, and it belonged to me. By the time I left, it didn’t, and I didn’t know who the fuck it belonged to.

  22. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    Geral@24,

    I was thinking, maybe we need a Day of No Prayer

    I’m guessing that this declaration means the other 364 days are official days of no prayer at all? That’s cool with me! Although, personally, I go the one day further.

  23. mikeyb says

    Let us pray that the 1% become the 0.01% and the 99% become the 99.99%. Let us pray that we permanently get rid of food stamps and unemployment insurance, as pissant as those are anyway. Let us pray that we get rid of minimum wages. Let us be one giant happy nation collectively either pumping gas for Exxon Mobil, handing out crappy food from McDonalds or working at Walmart. While were at it might as well gut medicare and social security, don’t need those pesky old people. And lets round up all them aliens and throw them out the country and put all those pot smoking minorities in jail or if not in the military. Let’s keep them women’s wages down, get them to stop complaining about harrassment and get rid of abortion clinics – or at least make them so far away that it is practically impossible for them to access them anyway. Who needs voting either if we just hire rich guys to tell us how to vote anyway. Wow, Lord our prayers are being answered more and more everyday, so many opportunities. But the gay marriage thing, we need to do more praying before god sends his wrath down on us about that.