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National Day of Prayer: Religious endorsement on steroids

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The first Thursday of May has been designated by the United States Congress and approved by the President as the “National Day of Prayer.” If government only endorsed religion just one day a year and left us with a secular government the rest of the year that wouldn’t be so bad. Sadly that is not the case. Unfortunately, the “holiday” could be called the “Day When Government Unconstitutionally Endorses Christianity Even More Than They Usually Do.”

According to the National Day of Prayer website, their mission is to “mobilize prayer in America.” Interestingly enough, they don’t seem to stop when the day is over. The people who support this “holiday” treat every day as a National Day of Prayer.

The reality is that the first Thursday of May is just an excuse for religious elements in our government to openly ignore the principle of church/state separation. Even though many government officials have no problem violating church/state separation with regard to religious invocations at the beginning of legislative and judicial sessions, voting for religious language in our national motto and on our currency, recognizing religious holidays as national holidays, favored tax-exempt status for religious groups and churches, and allowing purely religious arguments to dictate many of our laws, they at least have the decency to play lip-service to the Jeffersonian wall of separation between church and state.

But on the National Day of Prayer, all that goes out the window. The President goes to a prayer breakfast where he elevates religion over non-religion in an official capacity, and legislatures around the nation actively endorse religious belief, alienating atheists and other secular-minded citizens.

I would almost give the National Day of Prayer a pass if the other 364 days a year religious believers weren't trying to use government to endorse their religious beliefs. As a result, this day just seems like it is an amplification of the already existing problem. It has become a day in which the lunatics are openly allowed to run the asylum.

The worst part is that we know prayer doesn't work, and in some cases prayer can even be dangerous. Instead of a day of prayer on steroids, we need 365 days of a secular government that does not endorse the use of prayer at all. What we really need is 365 days of reason.

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