The annual National Day of Prayer is an exercise in religious superstition and ignorance that insults the U.S. Constitution, the secular values upon which this nation was founded, and hard won common sense.
Further, the National Day of Prayer is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause to the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As such, the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional: it is nothing less than a government endorsement of religion.
According to federal law, the first Thursday of every May is the official National Day of Prayer. Enacted by Congress in 1952 and signed into law by President Harry Truman, the National Day of Prayer is a product of the anti-communist fear and paranoia of the Cold War era.
Indeed, according to a report issued by The Christian Science Monitor, the early May date for the National Day of Prayer was put in place by President Ronald Reagan to be a direct counterpoint to May Day workers celebrations, which were major national holidays in Communist countries at the time.
Americans United For Separation of Church and State notes “the National Day of Prayer has become a vehicle for spreading religious misinformation and fundamentalist Christian doctrine under the aegis of the government – precisely what the framers were seeking to prohibit.”
Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed government-sponsored prayer proclamations. Both men were key architects of religious liberty in America, and both believed strongly that government should not meddle in religious matters.
The U.S. government has no business promoting religious superstition and ignorance, no business telling Americans how and when to pray, and no business encouraging what is at best self-gratifying mental masturbation.
A National Day of Prayer is a bad precedent for all Americans, religious and non-religious alike. A government that can tell you to pray is a government that can force you not to pray, or mandate how you will pray.
In fact, a National Day of Prayer is bad medicine for a country already infested with irrational, sometimes radical, religious zealots. The founding fathers had a vision of a government free of religious dogma and superstition. A National Day of Prayer violates that vision, and mocks the U.S. Constitution.
We are a secular nation, free to worship, or not worship, as we please. A National Day of Prayer is a threat to that freedom.