Post-prayer reflections

So the National Day of Prayer 2010 has come and gone. President Obama’s proclamation contained the following words,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2010, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.

Apparently, on National Day of Prayer, those “freedoms” do not extend to the freedom from religion. Non-religious Americans have every right to feel abandoned by their government on such a day. In inviting “all people of faith”, President Obama is slicing up the American people into those of faith and the rest of us who, on one day a year, are essentially barred from participation on a nationwide scale. Not only is this idiocratic, but it is unnecessary and counterproductive.

And where in the Constitution is there any mention of it being the President’s responsibility to proclaim such things as national prayer days? I’m not a constitutional scholar, but my understanding is that the government is bound to neutrality on religious matters and those of individual conscience. So it was slightly shocking to read:

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

The year of our Lord two thousand ten? Clearly, this was a call to Christian prayer, neatly undermining the much-heralded pan-religious propaganda of the event in question. I, as an American citizen, do not recognize the year 2010 as the year of my Lord, or any Lord whatsoever. That, as we say, is a private matter of conscience. It has no place on White House letterhead.

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