It’s never a waste of breath and typing skills to remind people that action speaks louder than words and that prayer is a perfect example of inaction in action. People tend to pray toward a being they believe can “hear” what they say, so when the coincidence happens and they actually get what they asked for, it’s God answering a prayer. When the coincidence doesn’t happen, it’s “God works in mysterious ways,” or “Sometimes God’s answer is ‘No.'”
The National Day of Prayer is coming up soon and in the States the Freedom from Religion Foundation had been trying to make a case against presidential support of the Day. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not rule in their favour this week and voted 3-0 against them.
The appellate judges reasoned that although the proclamation is directed at all citizens, none is obligated to pray “any more than a person would be obliged to hand over his money if the President asked all citizens to support the Red Cross or other charities.”
Okay, fair enough, but for the FFRF, it still translates into an unnecessary state-sanctioned religious ritualism. Charity really could be done by everyone (not counting the very poor or in prison, I suppose) and it would make a noticeable national or global difference. Prayer, on the other hand, falls within the dominion of a particular mindset that tends toward elitism and exclusiveness. The whole population of the nation could pray all day long and not a damn thing would be proved or improved by that act.
In April 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared ruled that the prayer day was unconstitutional because it amounted to a call for religious action. Crabb said the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.
“In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray,” Crabb wrote. President Obama appealed.
It’s unfortunate that the President picked a side here. I wonder what motivated him, real faith in the Day as a good idea for his country, or to appease tea partiers and others who think he’s somehow not Christian enough to run their country in the first place?