Reason Is Better than Prayer (for Government)
by Roy Speckhardt
05/02/2013 1:29 pm
Every year on the first Thursday of May a peculiar thing happens: the president and government officials across the nation ask us to pray. Not only do they ask us to pray, they inform us of the value of prayer and how, according to President Obama's 2012 National Day of Prayer Proclamation, prayer has "always been a part of the American story, and today countless Americans rely on prayer for comfort, direction, and strength." Of course, it's not exactly "countless" since we can count millions of Americans that don't believe in the efficacy of prayer.
This is a particular problem for nonreligious Americans who are civically minded. Just like our religious family and friends, we want to participate in community gatherings and political events and be an accepted contributor to the diverse American tapestry. So we understandably take issue with efforts to say that the American way is the way that excludes us, especially when those efforts are driven by officials we helped elect.
Roy Speckhardt is the executive director of the American Humanist Association.