After a federal judge ruled the National Day of Prayer (May 6) as unconstitutional, atheists and prayer advocates alike are boiling with political energy as they produce letters, emails, and even billboard advertisements all aimed at convincing state and local authorities to see it their way.
Mayor Bill Bunten from Topeka Kansas claims that the judge needs to brush up on his history lessons, since every day is a prayer day for somebody, and that declaring a single day of prayer illegal is preposterous and ridiculous. His stance reflects the furious nature of the religious advocates, who declare the day of prayer to be an American tradition. And, in conjunction with Obama now appealing the excited atheists as they try to persuade officials not to attend local events, the whole situation simply renders yet another fine example of the divergent tension over any relationship between religion and government.
The day of prayer was first established in 1952, and in 1988 it was determined to fall on the first thursday in May, where presidents would ask that all of America’s citizens prayed; however, after Freedom from Religion Foundation sued the federal government over a violation of church and state, the U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb had to step in and declare the day an unconstitutional call to religious action.
Whatever happens, hopefully people soon realize that days of religious prayer are dictated by their respective belief systems, and any governmental involvement is by definition, unconstitutional. Nobody in this country has the right to tell anyone to pray. Period.