Judge rules National Day of Prayer unconstitutional

And the forces of religious reaction are already planning an appeal. News on the ruling and great background information here. There's been a great cast of characters in the establishment of the NDoP, including Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham and Pat Robertson's father.


Billy Graham around the time the National Day of Prayer became law. (I think he looks a lot like James Arness from Gunsmoke)


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Yes, I think this is a major consideration - if it does result in a significant increase in membership of and donations to the FFRF which exceed the cost of the action then clearly it has done its work. I'm skeptical, however, as to whether this will occur. Further, even sympathetic would-be members might be turned off by how this could well be portrayed by the media.

This is not, I stress, an argument against taking such action. I just want to urge thoughtfulness when considering which high-profile initiatives will be most beneficial to our movement. Hitherto, such thoughtfulness has sometimes been in short supply.
James might have a very strong point in that a high court ruling against the FFRF sets a lasting precedent that utterly destroys any future attempt to separate church and state. The high court is loaded conservative Catholic and such a precedent might undo the intent of the establishment clause for good.

The Catholic Church would love nothing better than for its flock to hand it the ultimate power over our American Courts to empower the Catholic dominion. The buck stops at the Supreme Court. Would you really like that Court to be "subject to" under the Pope?

And a ruling against the FFRF would satisfy the vast majority in this country, so such a ruling would actually be welcomed, thereby neutering the Constitution of a long-standing protection against religious influence in government and public affairs.

Simply put, a loss by the FFRF would do far more damage than a win could gain. And since the majority (both public and judicial) would side against the FFRF, that makes it a very bad gamble indeed.

I have to agree with James.
What I've been promoting in my personal life is the National Day of Reason. I think it's important to engage the superstitious God people while building up our own holidays/institutions.

Shouldn't every day be a national day of reason? Although, I'm sure the religious think every day should be a national day or prayer, too.
Can't we all just get along? I like the idea of a Day of Reason, though can see this might not go down well with the other lot. How about a "Day of Contemplation"? It would be nice to think that a compromise could be reached that wouldn't alienate anyone and would still allow everyone to feel included.
"Clearly the ruling is correct, but I'm not entirely sure that this won't backfire horrifically. This ruling will be spun by the religious right as an attempt by secularists to denigrate prayer, which will do further damage to the image of nonreligious people in this country."

The same people who will use this ruling to damage the image of the nonreligious are the same people who hate us no matter what anyway, so does it really matter what they think? For the record, there are Christians who support the FFRF's case against the National Day of Prayer, like Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United: http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2010/04/au-praises-... I don't think you have to worry about us losing any allies over this if they truly support a secular government. The people who will use this ruling to attack us will have attacked us over something anyway, so I don't worry about what they think of us. And really, why should we care what the Religious Right thinks of us? They've never cared about us before.
The reason why this matters is that not everybody has a firmly-decided opinion. Presumably this ruling will receive a lot of press, and many people who have never heard of the FFRF will now hear of it. Therefore, how this action is portrayed will affect their initial impressions of the organization, and affect their willingness to support future actions. Most people are neither committed atheists nor fundamentalists, but somewhere in the middle. It's those people who we must reach, and those very people who might be turned away by actions like this.
I don't know if I agree with that argument James. Having never been indoctrinated, I was a person in the middle until 9/11. I gave religion almost no thought to the point that I didn't even know I was an atheist. I do remember being bothered by any religious incursions into politics though. I especially didn't like my tax dollars going to anything religious. My previous "not religious" self would have sided with the FFRF on this issue.

Of course, take this as you like, it's only a sample of one.
Ever see Woody Allen interview Billy Graham? Woody is so gentle and respectful... Billy behaves like a pompous ass!


This might be an interesting thread...
If I recall correctly, The Family and the C Street Theists were the driving force behind the "lets praise Jeebus day".
The issue is not that a national day of prayer is unconstitutional - it isn't, people can waste their time anyway they like. The Theists can support, promote, organize and finance all the "talking to ghost" days they want. But, the government CAN'T be promoting and sanctioning it.
The totally invalid argument that it isn't a Xtian prayer day but an all religions prayer day misses the point. The Constitution doesn't say anything about a particular religion it says only religion which implies ALL religions.
"Most people are neither committed atheists nor fundamentalists, but somewhere in the middle. It's those people who we must reach, and those very people who might be turned away by actions like this."

But as I've already posted, some of those people are already on board with this decision. The president of Americans United is a reverend and he supports it. The people who would be against it likely would not support atheists anyway.

"If I recall correctly, The Family and the C Street Theists were the driving force behind the "lets praise Jeebus day".

I think it was Billy Graham who started the National Prayer Day. What The Family is behind is the National Prayer Breakfast (do we really need two national days of prayer)?
I got my praise Jeebus days mixed up.




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