The Paranoid Protectors of Prayer Pounce (and a Patronizing Postscript)

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If you didn’t read my blog earlier this week, you missed the exciting announcement that the National Day of Prayer (as Congressionally mandated) has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. Go read up on the decision to truly appreciate this post.

As I predicted when I posted on Thursday, the right wingers are all upset about this. If you think prayer is a pointless exercise, that if people want to pray they surely can do so without a federal proclamation, and/or that anything right-wingers have to say isn’t worth hearing, SKIP TO THE BOTTOM for my suggestion on how we should respond. But, if you get a little schadenfreude from watching them get all pissy over nothingness, enjoy! Here are the highlights!

In the first article that went up on American Family Association’s network of “news,” they quoted Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (founded by Pat Robertson, in case you were wondering):

Sekulow said “[i]t is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition that embraces the First Amendment, not violates it,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.

“This decision runs counter to well established legal precedent and we’re confident that this flawed decision ultimately will be overturned.”  Sekulow believes that “proclamations and observances like the National Day of Prayer not only reflect our nation’s rich history, but are indeed consistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

Apparently, the standards for “time-honored” are pretty shallow these days. 58 years is what, two generations? And by “rich history,” I can only assume he means the joys of paranoia that inspired the US’s dramatic increase in religiosity during the 50’s.

Since prayer is a religious practice and the Establishment Clause says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and the National Day of Prayer was designated by Congress asking people to come together and pray, I must conclude that Sekulow does not know how to read. Last time I checked, 1 + 1 = Unconstitutional. Sir, please reread the 1st Amendment and note the “no.”

WorldNetDaily got some of the same quotes from Sekulow, but also talked to Joel Oster, Senor Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund:

Oster argued the day gives opportunity “for all Americans to pray voluntarily according to their own faith – and does not promote any particular religion or form of religious observance.”

…except prayer. Why do you need an opportunity to pray voluntarily? Don’t you just put your hands together and close your eyes whenever you damn well please?

Moving on, we have a stirring counter-argument to the court decision by Bryan Fischer. It’s stirring only for how vacuous it is. If you don’t know Mr. Fishcher, he is the AFA’s director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy. How someone who has wasted his education studying mythology theology is qualified to offer analysis on government is beyond my understanding, but that’s what he gets to do. He says that refuting Judge Crabb is “so easy a caveman could do it,” which makes me wonder if he has a secret deal with Geico or if he’s just not any more creative than a caveman.

Apparently he’s an expert on what the founding fathers were thinking, because he knows they were only concerned about specific Christian denominations taking over:

A national day of prayer, of course, doesn’t violate the establishment clause in any sense whatsoever. Since every Christian denomination believes in prayer, there’s no problem there. The law recognizing the Day of Prayer doesn’t even mention a specific Christian denomination let alone grant one some special preference in law. So, no problem there. And it doesn’t compel Americans to do anything at all, so there’s no problem there. In other words, there is no constitutional problem here of any kind, except in the fevered imagination of this hyperactive judge.

Get it? Because we’re all Christian anyway, so it’s no big deal.

And since we’re all Christian, it’s perfectly fine to launch ad hominem attacks at Judge Crabb, because that’s the Christian thing to do. She’s obviously a “benighted, misguided, robe-wearing tyrant” whose “harebrained ruling” interferes with elected officials’ free exercise of religion. I agree with Fischer that “somebody needs to get an actual Constitution into the hands of this woman,” but only because I think she ought to have it framed for her ability to uphold it. I’m surprised he didn’t call her an atheist; maybe he thought that would be too mean, or maybe he realized that the possibility that she is an atheist proves her own points in the decision.

Sick of this drivel yet? We’re only getting started! We haven’t even gotten to FOX News yet!

The President is still going to observe? Damn! I’m sure FOX News really wanted another reason to hate on Obama. Listen to the snide way they’re trying to get dirt on the judge, but alas, they have no dirt on her yet. But don’t worry, they’ll keep digging!

Let us turn lastly to the “official” National Day of Prayer Task Force. This is a group run by Shirley Dobson (yes, James Dobson’s wife) and here is their mission:

The National Day of Prayer Task Force’s mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

Are you surprised? The group that claims ownership and leadership of the National Day of Prayer is Christian? And they want us to repent?? Actually, they clarify that they’re built on “Judeo-Christian” principles, but of course everyone is “free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs.” I’m sure that’s why there were mixed reactions when Muslims held their own prayer rally in September. And by mixed reactions, I mean different approaches to fear-mongering, exclusion, and condemnation.

And so how is the NDOPTF responding? With a “Save the National Day of Prayer” petition, of course! And, unsurprisingly, with the support of the Alliance Defense Fund. After all, this is “an attack upon our religious freedoms.” And after you sign, make sure you donate… because your money will help them “defend our freedom to gather and pray.”

Remember, the atheists and agnostics in Wisconsin get all the credit for challenging these freedoms!. All of these news outlets keep saying it, so it must be true!

And so, to follow-through on our cause, I think we should organize prayer-ins. Let’s get lots of atheists and agnostics to gather and pray, just to show how free we all are. We can do it on our own time, wherever and with whomever we want. We can also pray to whomever we want; in fact, our prayer-ins will be just as effective if every single atheist prayed to hir own unique imaginary character.

By showing the religious right groups how free we all are to pray, they will realize how foolish it is to invest all their prayer into just one day. They will see that they don’t need special privileges like a Presidential proclamation for the freedom to pray, and surely, they will thank us for our insights and wisdom. And we’ll all live happily ever after and never let religion divide us again.

What do you say, fellow atheists, are you with me? Let’s pray for the religious that they might see the foolishness of their narrow-minded perceptions of their own delusional beliefs.

Goddamnit, it feels great to be free—free to pray, free to masturbate (which I find produces better results), and free to be sarcastic and ironic!

It also feels good to blaspheme. You should try it sometime. (Protip: You don’t have to wait for Blasphemy Day.)

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There are 2 Comments to "The Paranoid Protectors of Prayer Pounce (and a Patronizing Postscript)"

  • Andrea says:

    I understand how you can be against a day of prayer but there is no reason to attack any religion or for believing in the power of prayer. I am a very religious person, I am well educated and I believe everyone has a right to their opinion. I just want you to know that I am not narrow minded nor do I think i will ever feel my religion is just based on delusional beliefts just like you will never accept that atheism is delusional. I am not forcing my religion on atheists but they are constantly trying to prove my religion and Christianity wrong. Stop fighting us and accept us like we accept you.

    • ZackFord says:

      1) You don’t accept us. Atheists are the least trusted minority and the least likely to be voted into office. Also, Christians push religion on people all the time–it’s the very definition of evangelical. And what was this post about? Oh right, a NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. So, the whole mutual respect thing doesn’t get you very far.

      2) Likewise, atheism and religion are not mutually delusional. I don’t accept any truth that can not be rationally explained and demonstrated. They’re not equal opposites. One is belief and one is fact.

      I don’t need to prove religion wrong. You’re well educated, I’m sure, but that doesn’t mean that your faith is any more intellectually cohesive than anybody else’s. Baseless beliefs are baseless beliefs.

      You are not under attack; only your ideas.

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