National Day of Prayer?
Today is the National Day of Prayer. Normally it’s not something I would even talk about. Not because I don’t think marking the concept isn’t important or universally beneficial. But because it’s something I do everyday naturally and don’t even give a second thought to. I have had this day pass me by many times without even realizing it.
This National Day of Prayer is different.
This year President Obama has chosen not to outwardly honor the National Day of Prayer with an interfaith public ceremony.
Admittedly, I don’t know the inner workings of such a decision and the statements from the White House have been evasive. So I can only speculate. I am left to conclude the pivotal sentiment being that having a public ceremony is somehow an endorsement of a specific religion. That’s what Ron Millar, acting director for the Secular Coalition of America, says.
Millar said, “It’s a nice first step,” he said. “Generally, we don’t want the federal government to endorse prayer because it’s endorsing a specific religion. We’d rather them not be in that business. It would be difficult to be all-inclusive on this.”
Call me stupid, but I still can’t connect how an interfaith ceremony endorses a specific religion?
This reminds me of the modern trend to remove things like the Crucifix and Star of David from federal and public cemeteries or things like the Ten Commandments from our federal and state buildings (courtrooms, for example). In my view, this is a dangerous trend. This is not actually the appropriate application of separation of church and state.
Let me make it clear like I always do when talking on these things: I DO NOT want to create a theocracy. (To say nothing of the fact that what most people consider a theocracy when throwing this word around to bludgeon their opposition, is actually a wrong definition of theocracy.)
It seems that, although we are a diverse people, we cannot memorialize or honor the religious side of that diversity, whether historically relevant or not. This goes beyond separation of church and state. It’s as if we are trying to create a society of free people who are not free to be religious in the public square in any form or acknowledge the historical importance religious diversity has played in the foundation of our nation. I believe this is a simmering trend towards religious bigotry.
For me, it all comes down to one premise: Do our unalienable rights (the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) as citizens come from God or do they come from government, the state, or other people?
The Declaration of Independence says that they come from God. But is that no longer the case? Do we need to ‘evolve’ beyond that primitive ideal? I emphatically say NO!
That is a step toward devolution and tyranny, not enlightenment.
Read this and remember it well: if your rights come from other people (i.e. government or the state), then those people can take them away as they see fit or beneficial for the ‘common good’ (because that’s how it’s always framed). That’s what Communism has done. That’s what Hitler did. And I believe it all starts with a subtle assault on belief and faith. If you can get people to accept the premise that they are not created by God with purpose, value, and unalienable rights, then you can easily control them. They will give their liberties away under the guise of the common good as not to bring attention to themselves as individuals, when in reality they are simply playing into the hands of their controllers establishing empire and perpetual power.
Many will say I sound like a nut-job here, but I think the civil rights issue of the next generation could be for those of faith⎯those who actually believe in God, those who actually believe in an intelligent design, those who actually believe that a God created it all, those who actually believe in miracles, those who actually believe Jesus rose from the dead. The argument will be, since these ideas are allegedly not scientific, objective, or rational, should people be able to believe them and perpetuate them? Is it actually damaging if they do? That is secularism at it’s best.
I know this may sound strange and antithetical, but the only way to make a truly free and neutral society, is to base the rights of the people in certain minimal and universal faith-based absolutes. That’s what the Founders knew and did. And it worked better than anything ever has.
That is why I don’t think having an interfaith ceremony based on the idea of prayer undermines the principle of separation of church and state.
What’s next? No Christmas at the White House since it’s about Jesus? I don’t think Malia and Sasha will be too happy about that.