We Really Don’t Need a National Day of Prayer

After seeing the extent to which the National Day of Prayer has turned into the National Day of evangelical-Christianity-or-else, Sally Quinn of The Washington Post says she no longer sees a need for the celebration:

This country was founded on the idea of religious freedom. But shoving one’s beliefs down the throat of all Americans is just the opposite. [Rev. Greg] Laurie and [Pseudohistorian David] Barton are so far from the mainstream that they are representative of only a very few Christians in this country, not to mention those of other faiths and no faith.

Whatever happened to inclusiveness and pluralism?

Well, they seem to disappear whenever the Religious Right gets involved… and let’s face it: The day isn’t really about prayer. It’s about public prayer and making sure everyone else knows which group really has all the power.

Quinn also doesn’t believe we need a National Day of Reason — which was started in response to the Day of Prayer — though she doesn’t really offer a reason why beyond “if you’re not an atheist, then why would you want to observe” it? (Answer: Because it’s symbolic opposition to the idea of prayer as a substitute for action.)

But if Shirley Dobson and her cohorts want to cancel their event next year, I’m pretty sure the American Humanist Association will be glad to do the same.

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.


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