Here’s a misleading headline for you, courtesy of Christianity Today:
They’re referring to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s case against the National Day of Prayer — last month, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said that FFRF lacked standing in the case, thus allowing the NDOP to proceed with government support and presidential proclamations.
However, the way that headline reads, you wouldn’t even know the case was about government support of prayer. It looks like a court “allowed” Christians to celebrate the NDOP.
They could always do that. Christians can pray whenever they want. This was never about stopping their right to pray. This was always about the government taking a side on the issue of religious belief.
But Christians love playing the victim card…
***Update***: I was told by someone at Christianity Today that the headline came by way of the Religious News Service (it’s also used here as a result) — i.e. it wasn’t necessarily their headline. So perhaps they weren’t playing “victims” as I stated in the line above, but I still think it’s misleading.
There was some good news yesterday, though. In case you missed it, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) went on the floor of the House yesterday to recognize the National Day of Reason:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Thursday, May 5, 2011 as the 2011 National Day of Reason.
The National Day of Reason, observed by millions of people in this country and around the world since 2003, celebrates the application of reason and the positive impacts it has had on humanity. Reason and rational discourse have the power to improve living conditions around the world and cultivate intelligent, moral, and ethical interactions among people.
Reason and rational thinking have made our country great. The Constitution of the United States of America is based upon the philosophies developed during the historical Age of Reason and the idea that citizens engaging in rational discourse and decision-making can govern themselves. The Constitution also contains a strong separation of church and state, making it clear that government should continue to be built on reason.
Our nation faces many problems — ending two wars, creating jobs, educating our children, tackling our budget, and protecting our safety net. Although the gravity of these issues may drive many to prayer, the way we will solve them is through the application of reason.
The National Day of Reason is also about taking time to improve our communities — whether that means holding a blood drive or collecting items for the local food bank. It is also about ensuring that our government represents citizens of all beliefs and backgrounds.
I encourage everyone to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thinking, the scientific method, and free inquiry to the resolution of human problems and for the welfare of human kind. It is the duty and responsibility of every American to promote the development and application of reason.
I’m so used to hearing members of Congress make meaningless or idiotic statements that it’s a bit unsettling — but very appreciated — to read something so simple and direct. That’s what happens when you elect an openly non-theistic person to Congress. It’s symbolic only, but it’s still meaningful.
You can thank the Secular Coalition for America for making the proclamation happen, by the way:
“The Secular Coalition for America has a great appreciation for the continued work Representative Stark has done to promote reason and secular values on Capitol Hill,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, who spoke today at a National Day of Reason event on the North Carolina State Capitol grounds in Raleigh. “By encouraging Americans to employ reason and perform good deeds in their community, this proclamation embodies values that all Americans can rally behind — not simply those who pray or believe in a god.”
Amanda Knief of the SCA even got interviewed on Pat Robertson‘s Christian Broadcasting Network (at the 1:11 mark):
Amanda Knief, the government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America, said [the NDOP] violates separation of church and state.
“We do not believe the government should be in the business of telling people when or how to pray,” she explained.
Considering she only got a few seconds of air time, I think she made the perfect point. This isn’t about persecution of Christians. This is simply about whether the government should be taking sides regarding religion and prayer.
(Side note: I’ll give you a dollar if you can sit through Rev. Rob Schenck‘s monologue at the end of that video… ugh…)
Meanwhile, with the FFRF case out of the way, President Obama issued a proclamation on behalf of the National Day of Prayer:
It is thus fitting that, from the earliest years of our country’s history, Congress and Presidents have set aside days to recognize the role prayer has played in so many definitive moments in our history. On this National Day of Prayer, let us follow the example of President Lincoln and Dr. King. Let us be thankful for the liberty that allows people of all faiths to worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience, and let us be thankful for the many other freedoms and blessings that we often take for granted.
Right… because it was the prayer circle by the Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden, right?
According to Rep. Allen West (R-FL), yep.
[West] posited that the Navy SEALs prayed before entering bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan…
Yeah. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that had more important things to think about at that moment than whether or not Jesus loved them.
At least the president mentioned non-theists in passing in the process of illegally pandering to his religious base. We’ve gotten used to that by now…