On the National Day of Prayer

What an odious day:

When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ‘tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.

~Benjamin Franklin

I’d go a step further and say they’re all bad. We shouldn’t expect a single positive thing as a direct result of the random basis for belief that is faith.

National Day of Prayer challenge tossed

In an incorrect decision, an appeals court has tossed out a previous ruling on the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation did not have standing to sue because while they disagree with the president’s proclamation, it has not caused them any harm.

When I read the headlines about an overturned ruling, I expected some BS premise about the day being private and/or not government endorsed. But no, instead there’s this flimsy reason about standing. Apparently the government can actually endorse any religion now because no American citizen has any sort of standing to make a legal challenge.

Bizarrely, though, despite the piss-poor reason given, the justices decided to go ahead and attempt to make an argument for the constitutionality of the law. This makes no legal sense. By ruling on standing, it is only personal – not legal – interest that is motivating a continued response:

The appeals court said in an opinion written by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook that while the National Day of Prayer proclamation speaks to all citizens, no one is obliged 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.”

Except the First Amendment doesn’t establish a wall of separation between charity and state. Analogy fail, jackass.

Dan Barker destroys FOX Noise

Dan Barker absolutely takes down the biased questions he’s given on FOX Noise. His use of facts was a nice change of pace for that network.

National Day of Prayer letter to the editor

On April 22nd I read a letter to the editor about the National Day of Prayer. It made no sense.

That this case was not dismissed is ridiculous. One’s decision about whether to pray or to participate in organized prayer is an entirely personal decision, protected by the Constitution.

(Judge) Crabb’s ruling says that she believes the government has the right to decide otherwise. A judge cannot undo the Constitution.

This was baffling to me because right before this, the writer (Stephen Russ) had just quoted where the Judge said that praying is a personal decision. In other words, the guy used the Judge’s logic, but stopped short of its conclusion when it became inconvenient. As such, I was compelled to respond.

In a letter on April 22, Stephen Russ said a recent federal ruling on the National Day of Prayer was “ridiculous.” He continued, “One’s decision about whether to pray or to participate in organized prayer is an entirely personal decision, protected by the Constitution.” He then bizarrely claimed that the ruling undermines this personal decision.

What makes this really weird is that Russ also quoted the judge’s decision, where she said that prayer is personal and government ought not interfere with “an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.” This specifically speaks to the fact that the National Day of Prayer is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion; via the government, it encourages individuals to specific religious action.

What so many believers miss is the fact that one cannot have freedom of religion without freedom from religion. An endorsement of a specific religious act will run counter to another religion every time.

But even should there somehow not be an inter-religious conflict, believers are not to be given preference over atheists and other non-believers. It, of course, happens all the time, but, ideally and constitutionally, it should not.

And, in fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that atheism is as protected as any religion. This does not mean atheism is a religion — no more than not collecting stamps is a hobby — but it does mean that the government cannot have a preference for religion over a lack of religion.

But just for giggles, let’s say the National Day of Prayer is constitutional. It then follows that the government also can encourage a lack of praying. How would Russ and other believers feel about a National Day of Godlessness? It would improve society, I think, but it certainly would be unconstitutional.

(Damn you, Kennebec Journal, for changing my en dash to that ugly, double en, pseudo-em dash.)

As stunning as my take-downs always are, some people still disagree. For example, one person in the online comment section said this (in direct response to another user):

There is no mandate, nobody is going to be “penalized” on their income tax for not praying, or not saying a prayer that is satisfactory to the IRS. You need to go back and review the history of the establishment clause and relevant court cases. The government can not “establish” an official religion or require participation in a specific religion. Nor can it act in any way which gives a preference to a specific religion. When the majority of us establish that day and use the government to distribute that, or our representatives meet and determine that the day is going to be “May 6”, or whenever. That is our right. Don’t like Democracy unless you’re shoving it down someone else’s throat huh?

Got that? Government cannot act in any way which gives preference to a specific religion, but if a majority of people decide they don’t like that, it’s their choice. And that’s just democracy!

Only a member of a majority religion could possibly think the National Day of Prayer makes any legal sense.

National Day of Prayer struck down

The National Day of Prayer is a purely religious statute endorsed by the government. It is unconstitutional – and obviously so.

“[I]ts sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function,” a Wisconsin judge wrote in the ruling, referring to the 1952 law that created the National Day of Prayer.

“In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience,” wrote the judge, Barbara B. Crabb.

This is an obviously reasonable ruling. Unlike Christmas, there is no secular function or secular need for such a day. Of course, not everyone is so clear-headed.

Conservative religious groups called on the White House to appeal the decision.

“The National Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for all Americans to pray voluntarily according to their own faith and does not promote any particular religion or form of religious observance,” said Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.

This makes no sense. It’s the same nonsensical crap religidiots are always peddling. “It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!” All these Joel Osters of the world are doing is demonstrating their poor grasp on prepositions and how they pertain to the First Amendment.

The promotion of any religion is a violation of the First Amendment, even if that promotion includes all religions – the constitution does not somehow exclude atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers (or even those whose religions exclude prayer).

This really shouldn’t be that hard to grasp.