National Day of Prayer Is a Bad Idea

Today is the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. Let us pray that American Christians come to realize that:

* The NDP is a propaganda and publicity stunt organized by politicians and activists to manipulate the faithful into equating (conservative)(Protestant)(Christian) religion with patriotism, and to send a signal that non-religious Americans are second-class citizens. It is, to borrow a word from the Old Testament, a “shibboleth” intended to divide us.
* Being conspicuously pious is anathema to the teachings of Jesus (see Matthew 6:5).
* Were the government to call for a National Day of Rejecting Prayer you would feel as outraged and alienated as we non-religious Americans do today.
* The Framers of the Constitution really did intend the First Amendment to be, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “a wall of separation between church and state.” Walls work both ways. The government should not intrude on religion; neither should religionists of any stripe seek to manipulate or intimidate their fellow citizens by using the government.
* No one is calling for prayer in any private or non-governmental public context to be banned; we are only asking that the rights of all Americans (whether religious or not) be respected by our government officials, and that the government remain neutral on matters of religion.
* Perhaps a National Day of Prayer is not the best idea and should be abandoned.

Can I get an amen?

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