Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

RELIGION: Abolish National Day of Prayer

Letter by Carole Lee, Puyallup on May 9, 2012 at 11:29 am with 44 Comments »
May 9, 2012 11:30 am

I read an article in the Puyallup Herald about the National Day of Prayer event held in Puyallup. It stated that worship leaders of the event included a military chaplain, a state representative, first responders and the police chief. The mayor spoke at the event.

What in the world is going on? Government officials and public employees leading a religious event? Were they acting in an “official” capacity? Was this event city-sanctioned? Were any tax dollars used to pay for this event? Were other faiths besides Christianity participating, or asked to participate, in this event? The questions go on and on.

This country’s very foundation is the separation of church and state matters. Our religious freedom, our very existence as a free democratic republic, demand it. A national day of prayer endorsing Christianity is absurd and terrifying to me, and I am a Christian. It is past time to stop this tradition.

Leave a comment Comments → 44
  1. Theefrinker says:

    Nice! I’m glad to hear someone that identifies as a Christian actually make some sense. You are at least one out of a thousand, and I respect you for that.

  2. The Mayor of Puyallup (Hansen) consistently operates outside and with complete disregard of the law (and common sense). In fact, he is so self centered, if there isn’t money in an issue for him personally, it normally does not come about.

    The quality of the leadership at Puyallup City Hall (staff and council) is downright pathetic. Some time soon it result in a Federal lawsuit which will cost taxpayers plenty. Just last year two council members demanded that 3 of the final 5 candidates for City manager be female (an EEO violation). The City Manager has supported the city becoming a sanctuary for illegal aliens. Now we are getting into Church and State issues.

    Get your checkbooks ready Puyallup taxpayers. City Hall’s follies will cost you.

  3. LornaDoone says:

    The “National” Day of Prayer is a Christian event.

    If it were truly national, all faiths would be included, as well as those of non-belief, who could recognize “reason”

    Don’t expect this kind of unity any time soon.

    This year, John Boehner endorsed a particularly conservative brand of Christianity to use public facilities in Washington DC. They always love to challenge the separation of church and state.

  4. LornaDoone says:

    BTW – as to prayer in politics…

    There was a big dog and pony show prayer to abolish “Obamacare”. Nothing happened.

    Rick Perry called for prayer to solve the national debt. We still have a national debt.

    Although I’m not a big follower of religion, I’d suggest that “God” would tell us that He doesn’t clean up messes made by man and that he has no problem with people having better access to health care.

    At least that was what God used to say before conservative politics started intepreting Him.

  5. BlaineCGarver says:

    First off, there is no mention of “Seperation of church and state” in the constitution. Second, go whine somewhere else. We both know that tax dollars are used on FAR less important functions, for example, all the junkets incombants use for re-election purposes. Other faiths can and have joined in (after all, even pagans pray to what ever woodland diety they are porking that month). Lately, though, it’s just not cool to support Christians and their values.

  6. anotherID2remember says:

    Why do people equate the word “prayer” with Christianity?

    Go ahead and just close your eyes if you are offended by others closing theirs.

    Let’s rename the event….”thoughtfull moment of silence”.

  7. CrazyJim says:

    The national day of prayer is not an inclusive event. The promoters represent the most extreme elements of Christianity and nobody else. Puyallup should not have entered into this event.

  8. LornaDoone says:

    “BlaineCGarver says:
    May 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm First off, there is no mention of “Seperation of church and state” in the constitution.”

    Yeah and the Second Amendment stipulates that the purpose of gun ownership is for a militia, but the Right Wing has implied that it says otherwise.

    Can you get any more child-like in your argument?

    Since you want to go down this road, let’s pull the historial issue to the forefront:

    The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states until 1947; when they did, in Everson v. Board of Education, the court determined that the first amendment applied to the states and that a law enabling reimbursement for busing to all schools (including parochial schools) was constitutional

    Your assertion about “there is no separation” is mindful of a child saying “Mom you said I couldn’t take a cookie, but you didn’t say I couldn’t take two cookies”.

    Funny how they want separation of church and state when the subject of “birth control” comes up…..

  9. averageJoseph says:

    Good grief.

    If anyone was forced against their will to attend I’d agree there is a breach of the first amendment.
    If anyone is prohibited from participating in the event I’d agree there is a breach of the first amendment.

    What we have is a non-sequitor…

  10. Theefrinker says:

    Closing one’s eyes in silence is not offensive. Collectively bowing heads and talking to an invisible deity isn’t even offensive, though it is rather mockable. But none of that is the issue. It’s the expenditure of public resources on ancient traditions that have no place in a modern culture that is the bigger issue.

  11. sandblower says:

    aj, how do you know that a child wasn’t forced to attend by his or her parents?

  12. kluwer says:

    I’ll tell you whats going Carole, the far right is trying to take over the nation and turn it into a theocracy.
    The christian right truly is ‘Taliban west’

  13. kluwer says:

    “First off, there is no mention of “Seperation of church and state” in the constitution.”

    There doesn’t have to be.
    Good ideas, ideas that make sense, ideas that the nation embraces and has for centuries, you know “traditional” ideas don’t have to be in the Constitution.

  14. concernedtacoma7 says:

    While there is no mention of separation Church/State, there is mention of God throughtout our documents (look at the money in your pocket).

    The Founders stated individual rights were given to us by God, not the state.

    Modern progressives want the masses to look at govt for the answer to all their problems, vs faith in themselves and a higher power.

  15. SwordofPerseus says:

    CT7 and BGarver; talk about a box of rocks!

    None of us here are constitutional scholars, however it would appear that CT and BG couldn’t pass an eleventh grade civics pop quiz.

    “First off, there is no mention of “Seperation of church and state” in the constitution.”
    In fact it comes from the very first amendment to the constitution, sometimes referred to as the “Establishment Clause” google it.

    More clueless yet is ct7; “While there is no mention of separation Church/State there is mention of God throughtout our documents (look at the money in your pocket).The Founders stated individual rights were given to us by God, not the state.”

    First of all “In god we trust” was added to currency in the 1950’s nearly two centuries after the constitution was penned.

    Secondly the word “God” was not used in reference to, well here is the quote directly from the Constitution.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”

    And when your rights are being trampled by the truncheon swinging cop for peacefully protesting, pray to god and hope he comes with some bandages and an ACLU lawyer.

    Try not to be such tools…

  16. Oh no! People praying? What’s next? For many years high schools held Baccaulaureate services in the gym on the Sunday before graduation, officiated by clergy. When that became incorrect, these services were moved to churches. Police and firemen have always had chaplains, and for good reason.

    Here’s an idea, once we get officials to stop spending our money on wild parties and hookers, maybe then we can all start worrying about the horrors that befall us if we pray.

  17. CT7 –.
    The Declaration of Independence was our Magna Carta.
    The Constitution is a basic document of governance.

    “God” does not appear in the Constitution even once. The only two references to religion are the right to practice one’s own religion (as long as it does not infringe on anyone else’s constitutional rights; as with all rights outlined in the constitution) and the prohibition of religious tests for possible office holders.

    Even though the framers of the U.S. Constitution where white, protestant, wealthy men they were careful not to mention “God” or his supposed wishes.

  18. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Ok, what is the difference between “God” and “Creator”?

    You clowns keep trying to change our history. All the Founders wanted to avoid was a national religion. Unlike the modern progressive, they were not laying the foundation for no religion.

  19. MedicineMan says:

    Who has confirmed that Puyallup committed taxpayer resources to this event? If the organizers of this event, paid the fees to rent the facility and didn’t break any laws during their event, what is the issue? Want to be included in the event, attend it! Don’t want to go, don’t go! Let people who believe in a higher being have their beliefs. Those that don’t believe, have the same option. At some point in time, we’ll find out the truth as to whether there is a creator or not. Got a 50/50 chance of being wrong or right.

  20. RLangdon says:

    To a serious believer in Jesus Christ, a “National Day of Prayer” is absolutely Anti-Christian:

    “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6).

    Your prayers should be between you a God only. Nobody else needs to see you praying, ever. If you feel like you must be seen praying, you are a hypocrite. Jesus says so!

  21. RLangdon says:

    Your prayers should be between you AND God only.

    (Sorry for the typo folks! You knew what I meant anyway, right?)

  22. alindasue says:

    “National Day of Prayer” goes right up there with “Earth Day” or even “National Pickle Day”. It is not an official federal holiday but a day recognized by certain segments of the population for observance. Just like with Earth Day, a public official may decide to make a symbolic gesture to honor the day, but he or she is not required to.

  23. stradivari says:

    “Creator” = The Big Bang!

    The creepier religious folk are always attempting to usurp government to illegally promulgate their faith.

  24. LD – on the other hand Katrina was just a random act of God.

    CT7 and SOP -“We hold these truths …” is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

    CT7 – the Founding Fathers were laying the foundations for a SECULAR GOVERNMENT.

    MedicneMan – 50/50 if God had not said ‘I am the Lord Your God – Thou shall have no other God before Me’.

  25. averageJoseph says:

    aj, how do you know that a child wasn’t forced to attend by his or her parents?

    LMAO… God forbid that a parent would make their child do something the child didn’t want to do.

    What we have here is a perfect example of how some folk confuse parents with government. Really.

  26. alindasue says:

    Sandblower,

    If even a parent’s influence is “brainwashing”, then we are all brainwashed every day at home, at school, when we watch TV or read the paper…

    I think perhaps you may have been somehow brainwashed yourself into taking the term “brainwashing” to extremes that were never intended by the people who coined the word.

    The National Day of Prayer is no more an official government holiday than National Pickle Day (sometime in November). Nobody is required to participate or even honor it – even us Christians. It gets a lot of attention because of certain vocal participants, but that’s the extent of it.

    Personally, I don’t feel the need to celebrate it because every day is a “Day of Prayer”.

  27. averageJoseph says:

    No sandpacker… it’s called parenting.

    Thank you Alindasue for such a well reasoned post.

    As I said up thread,

    If anyone was forced against their will to attend I’d agree there is a breach of the first amendment.

    If anyone is prohibited from participating in the event I’d agree there is a breach of the first amendment.

    Now, reread the letter and tell us who wants to violate the 1st amendment.

  28. ANd then there’sthe brain-scrubbing that goes on in schools across the nation.

  29. LornaDoone says:

    None of us here are constitutional scholars, however it would appear that CT and BG couldn’t pass an eleventh grade civics pop quiz.

    Thank you.

  30. LornaDoone says:

    Oh my!! “sandpacker”…..

    Are we heading for the last AJ…..? I’ve seen this show before.

    Why not call national prayer day what it is…

    National Prayer if you are the right religion Day.

  31. alindasue says:

    LornaDoone,

    As I said above, National Prayer day is no more an official national holiday than National Pickle Day or (I see on my calendar this month) National Nurse’s Day. No one is forced to celebrate it. Personally, I don’t see the need to when I already pray every day.

    However, in all the signs I saw publicizing the day this year, I didn’t see any indication of a need to be a certain religion, only that it was a day dedicated to prayer. That would include Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintos, and who knows how many other religions whose members also pray.

    While there may be certain Christian clergy or religious politicians who choose to exclude people of other faiths (even other Christian faiths), that is their own personal issue and actually in violation of the spirit of the observance. We shouldn’t violate the rights of others by abolishing the National Prayer Day because of them.

  32. averageJoseph says:

    Well said Alinda.

  33. charliebucket says:

    I think many of you are missing the point of the letter. I am sure if the headline of the national day of prayer article in The Herald had said “Praise Allah” and “Puyallup gives shout out to Allah” instead of “Praise the Lord” and “Puyallup gives shout out to the body of Christ” and your state representative and your police chief were reported as WORSHIP LEADERS at the event or your tax dollars MAY have been used for the event you would ‘get it’ or at least you might ask questions. Our govt, our taxes, should not be involved in, or backing, private religious events. Was this event private or public? Were govt officials attending as private citizens or as public employees? It was reported (read the article) as a Christian event, not multi faith.

    C7 actually said it correctly and actually agreed with the letter even though he doesn’t think so: our founders set it up so there would be no NATIONAL religion. And, it should stay that way. If Christians or anyone else want a prayer day, fine, shout it from the mountaintops tops, meet wherever you want, praise and worship till the cows come home….but it should not be, in any way, shape, or form, a “national” event or sanctioned, endorsed, financed or anything else by our govt or our taxes. The term, and event, NATIONAL day of prayer either needs to be clearly inclusive of all religions or stop being endorsed, financed or attended by govt officials in a govt capacity. Blurring the line of church and state is a slippery slope we should not go down. IMO. I like my religious freedom way too much. If you are OK with one religion being endorsed by our govt over others, then you might want to take a look at the 1st amendment and ask yourself if you would be OK if National Islam (Buddhist, Hindi etc) Prayer day was endorsed by the govt.

    Either you value the letter, and the spirit, of the 1st amendment and the establishment clause and want it protected, or you don’t. IMO. Someday Christians may be a minority religion in the USA and Christians better hope our elected leaders remember and honor the 1st amendment when that day comes.

  34. averageJoseph says:

    … are missing the point of the letter. I am sure…

    Sure…

  35. LornaDoone says:

    alindasue – when I see Christians praying along side Muslims in a public venue, I’ll be convinced.

    If “National Prayer Day” was so insignificant, why has the religious right constantly used it as a leveraging device?

  36. igotdabombfool says:

    Weird how it doesn’t say National Christian Prayer Day.

    BTW…Congress created the day.

    Not that it matters…the letter is about whether or not tax-payer funds were used.

  37. charliebucket says:

    joe why so snarky? seems you missed the point of the letter. you and others appear to want to believe it is some atheist plot to quiet Christians, when it is not. The letter was even written by a Christian. The letter expresses concern that one religion seems favored by our govt over others and has become the de facto NATIONAL religion with a National Prayer Day. We don’t have a National religion and should not have a National Prayer day. IMO. The event in Puyallup was reported as a Christian only event. Read the article.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/05/09/2137820/puyallup-gives-a-shout-out-to.html

    Christian only is fine if it was private, not fine if it was city sponsored in any way, or “public”. IMO.

    and, sidenote: I agree with lorna.

  38. charliebucket says:

    ig, yes, I know it was enacted by congress. And, I am saying that IF this is a “Christian” govt sponsored Day/event, not a crystal clear multi faith day, it needs to be UNDONE by Congress. Just make it a private religious observance and stop calling it a NATIONAL day. Times change. I grew up with Blue laws (stores had to be closed on Sunday because of religion) and they were changed. When we know better we do better.

  39. alindasue says:

    President Reagan stated in Proclamation 5017 – National Day of Prayer, 1983: “…the National Day of Prayer has become a great unifying force for our citizens who come from all the great religions of the world.”

    It does not state “Christian” anywhere in the proclamation.
    http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/12783h.htm

    Although President Truman did coordinate with a group of evangelical Christians on setting the date and setting up events that year when congress officially established the day in 1952, it does not appear to be an event limited to Christians.

    It is still not a official national holiday and participation has always been voluntary. According to Wikipedia: “Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush each hosted special events for the day only once during their administrations, President Bill Clinton did not hold any such events during his time in office, George W. Bush held events on the National Day of Prayer in each year of his presidency, and President Barack Obama did not hold a formal event for the NDOP on May 7, 2009.”

    LornaDoone said, “If “National Prayer Day” was so insignificant, why has the religious right constantly used it as a leveraging device?”

    Why does the religious right use anything as a leveraging devise? Because they think they can. There are those who will use any any event, especially any event with emotional connections, to further their means.

  40. charliebucket says:

    alindasue, please spread the word that it is supposed to be an inclusive, multi faith event then.

    I think that was kinda the point of the letter.

  41. “ANd then there’sthe brain-scrubbing that goes on in schools across the nation.”

    Todays ‘hypocrisy moment’, once again brought to you by the far right chistian!

  42. Why does the right wing always need the big Govt to validate their believes over everyone else?

  43. BlaineCGarver says:

    LDoon…..*sigh* It’s settled law that the 2nd applies to individuals. You didn’t belittle me enough to prove that “Separation” exists in any manner….You suck at being mean and sarcastic.

  44. Sozo – brain-scrubbing is very big in Texas and other southeron states.

    BGC – actually the 2nd Amendment originally applied to Congress, but now applies to all federal, state, and local governments.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0