Senate Approves Prayer Plaque With No Discussion

Well, any hope that the Senate might provide some opposition to a bill that would place a prayer plaque at the World War 2 memorial in Washington, DC just disappeared. They not only passed the bill, they did so with no discussion at all on a voice vote.

Just in time for the 70th anniversary of D-Day Friday (June 6), the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent passed a bill to include a prayer plaque at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. House will have to approve the bill, known as the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2013, before it heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature. But political pundits say there is little doubt the House will approve the measure since it passed a similar version of the bill last year…

Michael De Dora, director of public policy for the Center for Inquiry, a humanist organization and member of a coalition of religious and secular groups opposed to the prayer plaque, said the Senate vote was both a surprise and a disappointment.

“We thought the Senate would take the long view of this and see the policy implications of adding a Christian prayer to a World War II monument,” De Dora said. “But even more upsetting was the way it was passed. There was no floor debate, no official vote, no one went on the record regarding their position. No one was allowed to speak up and no one did speak up.”

That’s because the bill was passed by “unanimous consent,” a point of parliamentary procedure by which there is no vote, only a chance to register objections. No senator objected.

The only question here is whether Obama will sign it. A couple years ago, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees such memorials, said he opposed such legislation. Obama has not spoken about it. Ordinarily, it’s the kind of bill a president automatically signs. But this is Obama’s last term in office, so he has little to fear by vetoing it. Still, I doubt he would do so. And once again the Christians get to piss on what they imagine is their territory.

"I have seen zero (serious) people who claim Franken and Moore are both equally as ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."
"Pretty much every word of this sounds like a verbatim defense from a Roy Moore ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."
"If that's the kind of story he has to tell his wife to get in ..."

Warning: Alex Jones is Going to ..."
"Circular reasoning aside, were they saying that ALL the angels were with Lot at Sodom?"

Wiles: Gays Would Rape Angels if ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • John Pieret

    no one went on the record regarding their position

    Which is precisely why it happened at all. In a tough off-year election cycle, no politician is going on the record as against prayer.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    And a big FU to those evil atheists.

    By the way, in what way is the prayer Christian? I didn’t see any reference to Christ. Is the verbiage typically Christian?

  • sugarfrosted

    @1: That’s exactly why “unanimous consent” should be axed. As a vote you’re voting as a group. There isn’t anonymity, but you don’t have to “out” yourself by voting against it.

  • marcus

    I predict Obama will sign it out of political expediency. I’m betting this one will have to go to the Supremes, which doesn’t have a good record on this kind of case.

  • petemoulton

    “And once again the Christians get to piss on what they imagine is their territory.”

    More importantly, they get to piss on all the nonxians who also served, suffered, and died during WWII.

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    @ #2: I believe this is the text of the prayer. All of the “O Lord”s and “Almighty God”s are very typically Christian in character. Note, also, near the beginning where it states that part of the purpose of the war was to “preserve… our religion.” Adding this prayer to the memorial will imply a government position that World War II was, at least in part, a Christian holy war.

  • Trebuchet

    But this is Obama’s last term in office, so he has little to fear by vetoing it.

    Besides giving the Republicans even more power in this fall’s mid-term election.

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    I’m rather of the opinion that there is no possibility that Obama will veto the bill. I’ve long felt that if he had any balls on church/state separation, he’d have challenged the Constitutionality of the National day of Prayer this year since it legally forces him to endorse a religious position. The president is the person whose rights are most directly violated by that law – there’s no possible way he could be ruled to not have standing, which is the only way that law has been preserved thus far. But he didn’t do it, possibly for fear of giving the religious right more ammunition against Democrats for the mid-term elections this year. And for the same reason, if not for any other, he will not veto this bill.

  • moarscienceplz

    Ehhh, I’m not so upset by this. The prayer in question was broadcast to the whole country by FDR in regards to the D-Day invasion. If those facts are mentioned on the plaque, then I think it would qualify as an item of historical significance.

    I would much prefer to get god off my money.

  • pocketnerd

    Thus Spake Gvlgeologist, FCD:

    By the way, in what way is the prayer Christian? I didn’t see any reference to Christ. Is the verbiage typically Christian?

    Promoters of Christian privilege like to pretend the deity named in such prayers could be any deity, but that’s disingenuous. Capital-G “God” is a proper noun, so that’s a very specific god to which they’re referring. And it’s not the God Muslims worship — they generally prefer to use “Allah.” It’s not the God of Abraham, as observant Jews typically obscure at least one letter to avoid using the Name in vain. (Even written prayers are subject to this — you speak the Name only when communicating immediately and directly with the Most High.)

    And, of course, referring to a single omnipotent deity excludes all those of polytheistic faiths, and an explicit plea for action excludes believers in nonintercessionist deities… et cetera. So don’t let the would-be theocrats get away with their dopey, wide-eyed claim that gee golly gawrsh, the could be any ol’ god. They explicitly mean the triune God who sent Jesus to die for the sins of humanity and they know it. Otherwise, they’d be pushing for prayer plaques that say “To God, Allah, HaShem, et al., and/or any other interested parties, including but not limited to Odin (or a member of said pantheon), Zeus (or a member of said pantheon), (order does not indicate preference) Shiva or Vishnu or Devi (or a member of said pantheon), any deities associated with the religious movements collectively known as Shinto, or any other benign power or powers (this imprecation shall not be construed as an invocation of any malignant or hostile deity, god, or supernatural entity)…”

    I invite you to meditate on the chances of that kind of inclusive prayer passing muster in Congress.

  • John Pieret

    pocketnerd @ 10:

    Plus, the last line includes “Thy will be done,” which comes from the Lord’s Prayer, a specifically Christian prayer.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    pocketnerd and John Pieret, thanks for the explanations. Even without that, it’s (IMNSHO) not constitutional, but that does make it worse.

  • eric

    The prayer in question was broadcast to the whole country by FDR in regards to the D-Day invasion. If those facts are mentioned on the plaque, then I think it would qualify as an item of historical significance.

    Lots of historical figures said lots of things about D-Day and WWII. If government representatives (like Congress) are combing through history explicity searching for quotes that reference God, that’s religious endorsement. The intent in that case is very clearly to find a God quote, not find an FDR quote or find an historically important quote or even find a rhetorically powerful quote. Because if you were doing any of the latter activities, the FDR or importance or rhetorica power would be your search criteria, not “references God.”