National prayer day

It seems Bush has snuck a national prayer day in. - see the link:

What do you think? Does the United States need a national prayer day? Why/Why not? How does it leave those, who aren’t Christians or doesn’t believe in God?

Tikster, an European atheist.

This wasn’t created by Bush, it’s been around for over 45 years.

Regardless of when the law was created, the questions asked in the OP remain valid.

I don’t see how, even if one sees benefit in prayer. People can pray with or without this national prayer day, and hence get any benefit they get from prayer regardless of this day being declared. I grew up with a very religious family, and never once did they ever even mention this day, to my recollection. And these folks are the biggest fans of prayer you can imagine.

I am an atheist, and I consider this like all the other blatant violations of separations of church and state, like ‘In God We trust’ on the money and pledging allegiance with ‘one nation under God’. These issues only exist these days as battle points for politicians to whip up their religious followers against the godless heathens.

I cannot really imagine a truly clear-thinking intelligent religious person seeing a true non-political need for this stuff.

Is that the day where the churchy kids in high school would gather around the flagpole and pray before the first bell in the morning? Yeah, it’s been around for a while.

I guess if it keeps prayer out of the regular school day and I don’t have to participate, more power to them. No, I don’t think the US needs a National Prayer Day, but then, I don’t think anybody is listening ;).

Governor Jesse Ventura was, IIRC, the only Minnesota governor since NPD was invented to specifically not recognize it. I suppose if I were governor or president, I would not recognize it either. Of course, in this current political climate, my non-belief would certainly keep me from becoming president.

“See you at the Flagpole” happens in September. It has nothing to do with National Day of Prayer and is just a student run event.

This lawsuit strikes me as just another attempt to remove religion entirely from the public square. There is nothing that prohibits the government from acknowledging religion, so there is no reason why any government entity can’t encourage people of all religions to pray or to celebrate their beliefs in other ways. It isn’t being used as any kind of test for any office, and nobody is being required to do anything. It doesn’t in any way violate the establishment clause.

So does god sit lotus style on a cloud and listen to the prayers on that day, then decide how many hurricanes to throw at us that year?

As and American I would prefer not to have rubbish like this be backed by the government. How about national feng shui day? Or national astrology day?


This might be a technical violation of SOCAS, but I suspect that it can be argued differently. Unlike putting “In God We Trust” on the money or ordering teachers to lead a Pledge of Allegiance with “under God” in the text, this does not actually call upon the government to actively embrace some imposition of religion on the populace. It is rather more similar to the government encouraging citizens to remember their mothers on the second Sunday of May or their fathers on the third Sunday of June. Outside of a few religious groups (emphasis on few) no one pays any attention to the actual “Day of Prayer” and the idea that anyone is “excluded” from society by the call is just silly. No one is going to look around at a classmate to discover them not pledging to God on that day. No one is going to be compelled to look at a religious text every time they pull money out of their pocket.

It is simply not worth the effort to get worked up over.

How is establishing a national Day of Prayer any worse than establishing a national day of Thanksgiving?

Because we aren’t thanking god for anything on Thanksgiving (at least, the government isn’t suggesting we do).

Socialized praying. Just what we need. :p:

More’s the pity.

The gov’t did used to- that was the whole point of the original Presidential Thanksgiving day procalamations.

What possible damages could someone have in this case?
What “remedy” could a court give here? Demand that the government tell people not to pray?

It’s a pity that the government does not suggest that we all pray to God?

Can we get it renamed to “National Wish for a Pony Day”?

Demand that the government not tell people to pray?

Oh, Jeeze! Way to get bent out of shape about molehills and give the Religious Right ammo, people.

The National Day of Prayer has precisely as much legal effect as “National Eat More Rutabagas Day” or National Veterinarians’ Recognition Day. You are no more obliged to do anything in the line of prayer on it than you are obliged to eat rutabaga souffle or send a card with a gift certificate to Rover’s doctor on the other days.

It’s there because one segment of the population wants it, and it’s public policy for the President to cater to various segments of the population with these sorts of proclamations. The idea is that those who do believe prayer is efficacious and who agree on what to pray for will join together in prayer on the same day, signifying some sort of solidarity to each other. (Presumably God knows it already.)

It causes no harm, other than using up some paper and ink and taking a small amount of the President’s time. Perhaps all the non-rutabaga-eaters should march on Washington to protest the special favoritism shown root vegetables?

Thanks, Polycarp. That’s what I was chiming in to say, pretty much. I loathe organized religion sticking its fingers in our goverment worse than I loathe slug baths and hammer massages, but people, this is no different than Flag Day, or Women’s Equality Day, or National Military Spouse Day. No one is going to make you observe it if you don’t want to.

Seconded. To me (an atheist) stuff like this goes in the “fuck it bucket” as far as SOCAS is concerned.

This isn’t a presidential proclamation if I read the link I provided correctly. This is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President.

But I agree, stuff like this is going to be passed from time to time and those of us who are offended by it need to learn to let it go. Until they tell people that they have to pray it’s just meaningless blather.

This site has every Presidential “Thanksgiving” proclamation (including non-“Thanksgiving Day” ones) and every one calls for thanking God.

President John Adams even issued proclamations for Days of Fasting and Humiliation before God. That, for some odd reason, just never caught on.:smiley: