California Governor Refuses To Issue Freethought Day Proclamation

Sacramento Freethought Day will be celebrated in California this Sunday and, just as they’ve done in the past, organizers asked the Mayor’s Office and Governor’s Office to issue a Proclamation marking “Freethought Day.”

This is last year’s proclamation, signed by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a similar proclamation last year.

For some reason, though, Gov. Jerry Brown refuses to extend the same courtesy this time around:

… Brown’s office sent an email informing the group he would not issue a message for them.

“We’re very disappointed. This is a slap in the face,” said David Diskin, organizer of the Sacramento Freethought Day. “He supports National Day of Prayer but not a day that celebrates separation of church and state.”

This is yet another example of how atheists are treated differently from the religious, Diskin said. He believes their proclamation was rejected because many of them are atheists.

Brown’s people had enough time to send the atheists an email saying “We won’t do it,” and enough time to send the Sacramento Bee excuses for why they didn’t do it, but not enough time to basically copy and paste the same proclamation used before?

You just know they wouldn’t have hesitated if this were a Christian group.

The atheists plan to mark the rejection by displaying a collection of past proclamations… along with one empty frame, “symbolizing the one they did not receive from Brown.” Brilliant idea. Make sure Brown’s name is visible on the frame, too. That’ll make for a perfect little photo op.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • TheBlackCat

    So much for the claims that the “national day of prayer” is non-religious.  If religion wasn’t the point they would have no problem with this.

  • Tim D.

    [blockquote]The atheists plan to mark the rejection by displaying a collection of
    past proclamations… along with one empty frame, “symbolizing the one
    they did not receive from Brown.” Brilliant idea. Make sure Brown’s
    name is visible on the frame, too. That’ll make for a perfect little
    photo op. [/blockquote]

    You *do* realize he’ll just wear it like a badge of honor and use it to pander to his base, right? Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to advertise that he’s an idiot, but I don’t have any misgivings about this costing him any votes in any future elections. This is not the crowd he cares enough to represent.

    • Nickolas Johnson

      Yep. Politicians are only as religious as the people they’re trying to squeeze votes (or money) out of. It is the same with any issue really and the reason you can watch Mitt Romney flip flop on his “feelings” about occupy wall street.

  • http://www.quietatheist.com/ Slugsie

    Looking at that last proclamation I don’t see anything there that I would actually take to be against religion. It’s just stating that we reject that which we can’t see or feel. Given that the vast majority of theists are convinced that they feel God in their ‘soul’, then they shouldn’t have a problem.

    Really is just showing a bigoted fool for what he is.

  • Bob Becker

    Aw, I don’t know, guys.   Had my druthers, I’d appreciate governors, legislators, congress and the president doing away with nearly all “day” or “week” or “month” proclamations, for any reason, any group.    Free thought will in no way be encumbered or diminished by not having a “day” proclaimed in its honor in California. 

    Is the nation better for either the President or Congress  having proclaimed the following:
    4th Monday in September: Family Day
    last Sunday in September: Gold Star Mother’s Day
    1st Monday in October: Child Health Day
    October 6: German-American Day
    October 9: Leif Erikson Day
    October 11: General Pulaski Memorial Day
    October 15: White Cane Safety Day

    Somehow, I doubt it.   Now, if Gov. Brown starts proclaiming all kinds of religious “days” in California, you’ll have a point, and a good one. But I don’t think he has so far.  And his declining to do as his predecessors did on this matter I don’t think, on its face, speaks badly of him.

    • Demonhype

      He publicly supports the NDoP, which is a deliberate slap in the face of all atheists and non-Christians in the country.  I think that’s enough.  The only reason someone would refuse the Freethought Day thing is because of that–because they realize that the actual purpose of the NDoP is to emphasize to all non-Christians and non-theists that they are not citizens of this country and are tolerated (barely) at best (for now) and to knock them down and make them afraid to be open about their views, and allowing any non-Christians and especially any non-theists an equal share or an equal say defeats this purpose.  What’s the purpose of having a special day to flaunt Christian Exceptionalism and spit on those different from those Exceptional Christians if you then turn around and allow those non-Christians or (dog-forbid) ATHEISTS a chance to publicly affirm their own values?  When they violate the civil rights of others for jebus, it’s holy and good, and when we merely state that we are atheists and don’t hide it like it’s a venereal disease, that’s UPPITY, doncha know, and the sooner we uppity non-Christian atheists learn “our place”, the better.

      That said, I would prefer that no one have special proclaimed “days” too, but since that’s not going to happen, the only other alternative is to demand our fair and constitutionally-guaranteed share of the pie.

      • Bob Becker

        Didf Brown as Gov declare a day of prayer in Cal?

        • Rich Wilson

          Yes
          http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=17023

          A National Day of Prayer is an occasion for each of us to reflect more deeply on the eternal verities and those matters which transcend our everyday routines. Through prayer, one opens the heart and stills the mind so that the Divine Presence may be directly encountered.

          I encourage Californians to participate in this day in the manner that is most appropriate to their own religious or spiritual beliefs and experience.

          • Bob Becker

            OK, Mr. Wilson, that puts paid to my defense of Brown.  He deserves all the slamming he’s getting here for hipocracy and more.  Thanks for the post and for including the source. 

  • Rich Wilson

    My Christian friend who was supporting Meg Whitman is going to be rubbing my nose in this for weeks.

    • Rich Wilson

      btw, I’ll be at Freethought day with my black t-shirt:

      One Nation
      (long list of religious breakdown from Pew forum)
      Indivisible

      In case anyone wants to say ‘hi’.  (but I’ll mostly be at the kid’s camp with my son)

  • Anonymous

    Jerry Brown, THIS Jerry Brown (see photo) is a religion-supporter/freethought-NON-supporter?? when did he lose his appreciation for heathens?

    http://whenyouawake.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/2598674709_bb5c39e277.jpg

    (that’s Brown with Linda Rondstadt, the Eagles and Jackson Browne)

  • Gs4000

    We were there and had a nice time. Frank Zappa was this years “hall of fame” recipient. Wasn’t Jerry Brown a former seminary student?

  • Michael S

    “You just know they wouldn’t have hesitated if this were a Christian group.”

    Actually, we don’t know that yet. It’s pretentious to cry foul over something so trivial without a clear example of favoritism.


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