Pharyngula

Let the fireworks begin!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has won a significant court case: the National Day of Prayer has been declared unconstitutional. The judge made a cautious and conservative judgment, but you know the right-wing is going to freak out.

Crabb wrote that her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer. She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action. But the National Day of Prayer crosses that line, she wrote.

“It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context,” she wrote. “In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”

This is going to be so much fun.

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    April 15, 2010

    Damn, you know that “eat a baby in memory of Darwin” day is the next target.

    It’s getting insane.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  2. #2 Carlie
    April 15, 2010

    “It is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition that embraces the First Amendment, not violates it,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement.

    That word “embraces” – I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

    The only bad part of this is that it will be used as a “gotcha” question for the next Supreme Court candidate and the easy excuse for a filibuster. :(

  3. #3 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 15, 2010

    Woohoo! Here’s hoping it lasts.

  4. #4 MeatMittens
    April 15, 2010

    You’re right, PZ, this will be so much fun :)

  5. #5 neurosink
    April 15, 2010

    Go Judge Crabb!

    The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, issued a statement saying Crabb’s ruling undermines American tradition dating back to the nation’s birth.

    Ugh not that chestnut again…it’s tradition! We must follow it! Off the cliff we go!

  6. #6 Jadehawk, OM
    April 15, 2010

    w00t!!

    The only bad part of this is that it will be used as a “gotcha” question for the next Supreme Court candidate and the easy excuse for a filibuster. :(

    like the repubs weren’t going to do something like that anyway, as revenge for the healthcare bill.

  7. #7 subbie
    April 15, 2010

    You can read the opinion here.

  8. #8 Brian English
    April 15, 2010

    Fireworks? I was hoping it was about you going toe-to-toe with Massimo Pigliucci. Nothing like a good shit fight to make Friday at work pass quickly. C’mon PZ. :)

  9. #9 https://me.yahoo.com/a/bw2X9sQYqo6fTa34e9ulFcHLuQ--#1ce45
    April 15, 2010

    wow

    i’m getting the popcorn now

  10. #10 Sgt. Obvious
    April 15, 2010

    Speaking as a law geek, I stress that while this is good news, it is NOT a Supreme Court ruling. Make no mistake, this WILL be appealed to the Supreme Court, and if they take it, it’s entirely possible (I might even say likely) that the ruling will be overturned.

  11. #11 Givesgoodemail
    April 15, 2010

    It’s happy dance time!

    It’s also time for a properly moral prayer.

  12. #12 Joel
    April 15, 2010

    On the flip side of the coin, the judge also stated that a hypothetical “Day of Blasphemy” would also be forbidden by the same law.

    So, goddammit, we won’t get our day either.

  13. #13 timothy.green.name
    April 15, 2010

    Woot indeed!

    TRiG.

  14. #14 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 15, 2010

    This just proves the poor, downtrodden Christian majority is being persecuted.

    </snark>

  15. #15 neurosink
    April 15, 2010

    @subbie #7

    Thanks for the link, very interesting to read it in its entirety rather then rely upon the snippets in the article.

    One area that I find interesting is the section that details how the initial suggestion of the national day of prayer was presented to the government and how the support for it within the Senate was contextualised:

    Absalom Robertson introduced the bill in the Senate, stating that it was a measure
    against ?the corrosive forces of communism which seek simultaneously to destroy our
    democratic way of life and the faith in an Almighty God on which it is based.?

    Note which denominations are counted here:

    In support of the bill, Representative Brooks stated that ?the national interest would be much better served if we turn aside for a full day of prayer for spiritual help and guidance
    from the Almighty during these troublous times. I hope that all denominations, Catholics,
    Jewish and Protestants, will join us in this day of prayer.?

    Yeah sure, this is an American tradition that goes all the way back to the start of the country, my ass.

    When the Continental Congress met for its inaugural
    session in September 1774, delegate Thomas Cushing proposed to open the session with a
    prayer. Delegates John Jay and John Rutledge (two future Chief Justices of the Supreme
    Court) objected to the proposal on the ground that the Congress was ?so divided in religious
    Sentiments . . . that We could not join in the same Act of Worship.?

    Subbie’s link to the opinion is here.

  16. #16 James F
    April 15, 2010

    If it upsets Jay Sekulow, that’s evidence it’s a good thing.

    Submitted for your approval roughly 100 years after the author’s passing, Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer.”

  17. #17 lorigb
    April 15, 2010

    I already got into an argument on someone else’s Facebook wall about this. After she threw out WallBuilders as her proof for wanting a National Day of Prayer, I facepalmed and gave it up for a lost cause, because I lack the patience to give someone an extended US history lesson.

  18. #18 aratina cage
    April 15, 2010

    Booya! Guess the Christians didn’t pray hard enough and now Jesus doesn’t love them anymore (he’s fickle that way).

  19. #19 bart.mitchell
    April 15, 2010

    ooh, the fecal matter just impacted on the impeller.

  20. #20 kantalope
    April 15, 2010

    I curse you Lorigb for making me find out about Wallbuilders.

  21. #21 ijakjak
    April 15, 2010

    While it is an encouraging judgement, I cannot help but think that it will marshal our foes against us. Once the legions of fanatics are motivated, they will not stop when confronted with reason.

    My problem is that I, and most of the atheist horde, are reasonable humans, and I know that those that say the dinosaurs and man ate each other, are not reasonable at all.

    Any theist fanatic can use their feelings of moral superiority to justify all manor of illegal behaviour.

    Only in my wildest dreams of the future does reason win.

  22. #22 Kirk
    April 15, 2010

    During this small step by a judge in the right direction, she felt the need to pander to religion.

    She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action.

    How can prayer serve a secular purpose?

    And it seems to me that a call to prayer itself is a call to religious action.

  23. #23 GlenInBrooklyn
    April 15, 2010

    “Fun”? I respectfully disagree.

    Glenn Beck will need buckets to catch his artfully rehearsed tears. Bill O’Reilly’s “War on Christmas” will be eclipsed by the “War on (our) God.” Then the idiot-child media will get into the act…

    Ultimately, I may want to slash my elbows.

  24. #24 Rey Fox
    April 15, 2010

    “So, goddammit, we won’t get our day either.”

    Fortunately, we don’t require these things to be set in stone by the government.

  25. #25 jmelancon
    April 15, 2010

    Good news, but I’m still looking forward to the day I can by beer on Sundays.

  26. #26 jmelancon
    April 15, 2010

    “Good news, but I’m still looking forward to the day I can buy beer on Sundays.”

  27. #27 lorigb
    April 15, 2010

    Ha, sorry kantalope! I hope you survive a look-through with your brain intact.

  28. #28 https://me.yahoo.com/a/xaStVywarZ6R9nrlSjv4D8_6GGA0PWmf#765c4
    April 15, 2010

    I, too, have already gotten into a lengthy pseudo-argument with someone on my FB page who posted the following:

    President Obama has decided that there will no longer be a “National Day of Prayer” held in May. He doesn’t want to offend anybody. Where was his concern about offending Christians last January when he allowed the Muslims to hold a day of prayer on the capitol grounds. As a Christian American “I am offended.” If you ag…ree copy and paste no matter what religion you are, this country was built on Freedom!!!!

    I gave up when her son responded with the birther argument, the communist argument and the “the founding fathers founded this country on prayer!” argument.
    *sigh*

  29. #29 Cinnamonbite
    April 15, 2010

    Yeah, here’s the Facebook message I got, from a PAGAN, no less:

    “President Obama has decided that there will no longer be a “National day of prayer” held in May. He doesn’t want to offend anybody. Where was his concern about offending Christians last Jan when he allowed the Muslims to hold a day of prayer on the capitol grounds. As a Christian American “I am offended.” if you agree copy and paste no matter what religion you are, this country was built on freedom.”

  30. #30 Brian
    April 15, 2010

    On the flip side of the coin, the judge also stated that a hypothetical “Day of Blasphemy” would also be forbidden by the same law.

    On the flip flip side, that means that if the Supreme Court overturns this decision, we need to push for the “Day of Blasphemy”.

    While it is an encouraging judgement, I cannot help but think that it will marshal our foes against us.

    I think we need to stop fretting over this concern every time we make some progress. I’m increasingly of the opinion that such is the status quo right now, it is impossible to make much progress without riling up our foes.

  31. #31 cainula
    April 15, 2010

    Here is the Freeper’s discussion if anyone wants to be fantastically entertained.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2493788/posts?q=1&;page=1

  32. #32 Kamaka
    April 15, 2010

    Ugh. A “National Day of Prayer”, how repulsive. A stupid leftover from the “godless commie” days, like “one nation, under god” in the pledge of allegiance.

    It cost me $10,000 last year to be a free man in this country.

    Just what I need is the government I finance telling me to pray.

    Here’s my prayer: Jesus-Fucking-Christ-on-a-Stick, may all your holy followers be sent to the hell they think exists.

  33. #33 speedweasel
    April 15, 2010

    While it is an encouraging judgement, I cannot help but think that it will marshal our foes against us.

    Bring. It. On.

  34. #34 speedweasel
    April 15, 2010

    It cost me $10,000 last year to be a free man in this country.

    I think you are conflating free with free.

  35. #35 tsg
    April 15, 2010

    On the flip side of the coin, the judge also stated that a hypothetical “Day of Blasphemy” would also be forbidden by the same law.

    So, goddammit, we won’t get our day either.

    A government sponsored “Day of Blasphemy”, yes. She’s right. That doesn’t stop us from having one anyway.

    On the other hand, every day is Blasphemy Day.

  36. #36 tsg
    April 15, 2010

    During this small step by a judge in the right direction, she felt the need to pander to religion.

    She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action.

    How can prayer serve a secular purpose?

    And it seems to me that a call to prayer itself is a call to religious action.

    It depends how you read it. As you pointed out, it’s a pretty big “if”. All it really says is, yes, in the (unlikely) event the government could manage to find a secular purpose behind encouraging prayer, then it wouldn’t be unconstitutional. This, however, ain’t it.

    As my grandmother used to say, “if wishes were horses then beggars could ride.”

  37. #37 calvin
    April 15, 2010

    The last thing that a Christian needs is the government reminding them to pray one day a year.

    I’m a Christian. I pray continually every day all year long.

    I don’t need to be reminded to do this once a year.

  38. #38 skeptical scientist
    April 15, 2010

    I had a question which the article doesn’t answer, and I’m hopeful someone reading this might know the answer:
    1) Can Obama decide not to appeal the ruling?
    2) If he does, what happens? Does it stand? The article mentioned “The American Center for Law and Justice, which represented 31 members of Congress who joined the federal government as defendants, called Crabb’s ruling flawed and promised to appeal.” Could they appeal the ruling, even if the Obama administration decides not to appeal?

    Not that I think 1) happening is terribly likely (especially given that a spokesman for the Obama administration said that Obama still plans to issue a proclamation), but I’m curious whether it is possible.

  39. #39 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 15, 2010

    While it is an encouraging judgement, I cannot help but think that it will marshal our foes against us.

    Oh well. If they don’t have any actual reasons to screech and wail and gnash their teeth at us, they fabricate them, so they may as well be offended by something real.

  40. #40 Yedgy
    April 15, 2010

    Kudos to the FFRF for gittin’ ‘er done, but get out your earplugs, people…the Republicans are gonna be praying through megaphones this year.

    If President Obama does issue a proclamation this year, hopefully it’ll be just a toothless acknowledgement that May 6 means something to many Americans, and not an official pronouncement of observance by our government.

    @cainula: I just read through the hilarious Freeper thread–thanks for the link!

  41. #41 Pierce R. Butler
    April 15, 2010

    Follow the excitement at nationaldayofprayer.org ! (Weirdly, the blurb on the NDP home page about this leads to their Twitter announcement from ~ 2 hours ago… which directs you to their home page.)

    The nominal leader (“Chairman”) of this whole project is Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder and ex-leader James Dobson. Shirley D’s latest blog entry dates from April 5.

    That atheists should be mocking the Righteous before God’s favorite people can even post a defense* should resolve every question about how ferociously Good Christians? are being persecuted in Obamerica!

    *Preparing a contingency plan would have betrayed a lack of faith – just ask Liz Cheney… Or maybe not, as a last-minute check shows they have managed to post this – http://nationaldayofprayer.org/news/ndp-decision/ – but you have to catch the right moment in their rotating display to get there from the index page.

  42. #42 Joel
    April 15, 2010

    Kirk @ 22:

    During this small step by a judge in the right direction, she felt the need to pander to religion.
    She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action.
    How can prayer serve a secular purpose?
    And it seems to me that a call to prayer itself is a call to religious action.

    That’s actually a point of law, spelled out in the SCOTUS “Lemon Test.” If a law touches on the subject of religion, it must meet the following three prongs to be considered Constitutional:

    1) The law must have a secular legislative purpose;

    2) The law must not have a primary effect of either promoting or inhibiting religion;

    3) The law must not excessively entangle government with religion.

    This test was articulated in the opinion for Lemon v. Kurtzman as a way of advising lower courts on how to rule on legislation which brushes up against religious matters. In the present case, the judge was basing her ruling on the fact that the government had not sufficiently proven that a National Day of Prayer has a legitimate secular purpose.

    She doesn’t have to provide some hypothetical secular purpose for prayer — that’s the government’s job and clearly they did not provide a reason at this time. Therefore, they lost their case. If they want to appeal the case, they will have to explain to the next court (a) what the valid secular purpose is for the National Day of Prayer, and (b) given the 39 year old precedent set forth in Lemon, why the hell didn’t the government show up prepared to argue a valid secular purpose in the court of original jurisdiction?

  43. #43 Peter H
    April 15, 2010

    “When the Continental Congress met for its inaugural session in September 1774, delegate Thomas Cushing proposed to open the session with a prayer. Delegates John Jay and John Rutledge (two future Chief Justices of the Supreme Court) objected to the proposal on the ground that the Congress was ?so divided in religious Sentiments . . . that We could not join in the same Act of Worship.?

    This has suddenly become my quote du jour.

  44. #44 Norseman424
    April 15, 2010

    I’m with calvin on this one (in reason, not in faith).

    Christians are supposed to pray every day anyways, so big fuckin’ woop if the government wanted to select one day out of the year. I doubt most people even knew which day it came on.

  45. #46 Geoffrey
    April 15, 2010

    Oops, that link was from last year but it was link to in a whitehouse twit.

  46. #47 martha
    April 15, 2010

    What the idiots on the right don’t realize is that Obama supports the national day of prayer.

  47. #48 chgo_liz
    April 15, 2010

    Following Geoffrey’s link to last year’s presidential proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, I read:

    In 1775, as the Continental Congress began the task of forging a new Nation, colonists were asked to observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer.

    No mention of John Jay’s or John Rutledge’s response. How lawyerly.

  48. #49 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlpz7jEh4Bd2ZEPBFRrUjWoV1sjep_eJEw
    April 15, 2010

    Let the bawling begin!

  49. #50 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlpz7jEh4Bd2ZEPBFRrUjWoV1sjep_eJEw
    April 15, 2010

    Man, this person just doesn’t get it at all. The gov’t has no intention of “stopping” her.

  50. #51 Ragutis
    April 15, 2010

    This brings up an interesting question, who’ll be the first to have an on-air aneurism? Beck? Hannity? O’Reilly? Ingraham? Or will Donohue or Malkin beat them to the punch on a morning show interview?

    I’ll probably just be dissapointed again, like when I watched MSNBC all election night waiting for Pat Buchanan’s head to asplode.

    On a more serious note, while this was the right decision, it’s only going to fire up the Far-Right wingnuts and Tea Partiers more, maybe giving them the momentum to have a significant impact in Nov. Every victory for the rational is just going to stoke the fires of the torch and pitchfork mob.

  51. #52 R. Schauer
    April 15, 2010

    James F.
    Thanks for the link to Twain’s War Prayer…as usual…he nails it!

    As for the ruling…I’m thinking we’re going to need more anger management counselors to handle the loving xtian’s rage resulting from this decision.

  52. #53 procrastinator.myopenid.com
    April 15, 2010

    Hot damn. Now we’re talking! This is good stuff.

  53. #54 F
    April 15, 2010

    James F @ 16 *

    The War Prayer – excellent bit of American literature. Strange that it was banned for so long…

    * For those of you who think you see something here, don’t go there. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re safe. Lucky you.

  54. #55 Childermass
    April 15, 2010

    A law that suggests that people should pray but having no rewards of sanctions has as much legal significance as a blank sheet of paper. It exists only to make some politicians look good in the eyes of some people without actually doing anything.

    So what has the court decision changed? The president can still give a speech or make a public prayer on that day if he so desires. And so can anyone else. And I suspect there might be even more people observing the “holiday” than there were before the decision.

  55. #56 tony.quirke
    April 15, 2010

    The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, issued a statement saying Crabb’s ruling undermines American tradition dating back to the nation’s birth.

    So did abolition.

  56. #57 https://me.yahoo.com/a/fGT.ApA4svgZGv5uZPWdIaQWVVO0#7da76
    April 15, 2010

    Does this mean we can’t have blasphemy day now?

    http://itsabiggie.blogspot.com/

  57. #58 lenoxuss
    April 15, 2010

    Since prayer has been shown repeatedly to work as a medical intervention, as a method of preventing natural disasters, and as a means of acquiring profound wisdom (not to mention prophetic foreknowledge!), it clearly serves a secular purpose.

    /Sarcasm.

    Jay Sekulow said: “It is unfortunate that this court failed to understand that a day set aside for prayer for the country represents a time-honored tradition” whoa full stop what’s the word for this fallacy again? Not just the fallacy of arguing from tradition, but the fallacy of asserting that X does not violate the law/Constitution because it is good for reason Y. Y is simply irrelevant.

    “Far from violating freedom of religion, National Chicken Sacrifice Week gives all Americans the opportunity to feel good about themselves.”

    Even if it were a tradition, and even if “tradition” were automatically a good thing, that wouldn’t mean it couldn’t run into conflict with the Constitution.

    Anyway, this is just another great opportunity for us all to ask the religious how the heck prayer is supposed to make sense in the first place, never mind it’s a-posteriori ineffectiveness.

    Here’s my answer to that vexing question, psychological rather than theological: God is analogous to a person, and when we need some help or advice, we ask people, sometimes negotiating with them. So prayer is doing the same with God. (Just leave the words “omniscient” and “omnibenevolent” out of your mind. God can only hear you and care if you pray.)

    Basically, prayer is just the simplified, sophisticated, homeopathic version of sacrificing your stuff to the gods, so that you can convince them to care about your problems.

    Ever notice how whenever a “prayer expert” addresses the subject, he’ll always declare that everyone else is praying Wrong? Like, they’ll say “Oh, you’re not supposed to ask for anything”, or “You should only pray ‘Thy will be done’ “, nonetheless following that up with, “Let’s pray for that nonbeliever’s soul.” Prayers should be humble. No, they should be bold. Prayers should be silent ? Jesus said so. You should only pray “thank you”. No, that’s selfishly wasting the power of prayer ? you should pray for your ill loved ones.

    Praying that Uncle Greg’s cancer is cured is generally considered reasonable. I wonder why I’ve never heard anyone earnestly propose mass prayers (they’re a popular part of Christian lore) that God simply cure everyone’s cancer. What could be the difference?

  58. #59 F
    April 15, 2010

    Yahoo + pseudo-hungarian notation @ 28

    I, too, have already gotten into a lengthy pseudo-argument with someone on my FB page who posted the following:

    President Obama has decided that there will no longer be a “National Day of Prayer” held in May. He doesn’t want to offend anybody. Where was his concern about offending Christians last January when he allowed the Muslims to hold a day of prayer on the capitol grounds. As a Christian American “I am offended.” If you ag…ree copy and paste no matter what religion you are, this country was built on Freedom!!!!

    I gave up when her son responded with the birther argument, the communist argument and the “the founding fathers founded this country on prayer!” argument.
    *sigh*

    These people have their heads so far up their fifth point of contact that they can’t see that their argument is a complete FAIL at the beginning of the sentence. Obama was named a defendant here. Welcome to facepalm city.

  59. #60 ecurve
    April 15, 2010

    “You should only pray ‘Thy will be done’ “

    Srsly? “O God, far be it for ME to suggest anything; just go ahead and do whatever it is you were going to do in the first place”? The power of prayer, indeed.

    Me, I’m stunned and delighted by this. I work on an Air Force base, and the National Day of Prayer was one of those things I was used to silently grumbling to myself about.

  60. #61 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 16, 2010

    Yay!!
    Constitution: 1
    Crazy (christian) right-wingers: 0

    On a related news, Tebow will no longer be able to display Bible verses:
    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/-Do-not-Express-yourself-Taunting-eyeblack-ba?urn=ncaaf,234533

  61. #62 Peter H
    April 16, 2010

    We so very desperately need a latter-day Mark Twain!

  62. #63 Peter H
    April 16, 2010

    “Crazy (christian) right-wingers [such as] Tebow will no longer be able to display Bible verses:
    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/-Do-not-Express-yourself-Taunting-eyeblack-ba?urn=ncaaf,234533

    A return to or re-establishment of “lets’ play the game AS the game and no more” gets some knickers in a knot? Pfaugh!

  63. #64 Menyambal
    April 16, 2010

    God has a plan for the universe, right? God knows everything, right? So what the hell is prayer for? Is it asking him to alter his plan? Is it telling him something he doesn’t know? What is it doing that an omniscient, irritable god won’t take offense at?

    “Hey, God? You know your ineffable plan to kill my uncle Harry with cancer? I just thought I’d let you know that I think it’s a bad idea, by babbling, because you really aren’t omniscient, are you?”

    Hmmm, no wonder it’s an American holiday.

  64. #65 Peter H
    April 16, 2010

    We are assured (by sycophantic sycophants) that all prayers re answered, It would seem the majority asnwer is “No.”

  65. #66 lenoxuss
    April 16, 2010

    It would seem the majority asnwer is “No.”

    Indeed.

  66. #67 raven
    April 16, 2010

    I never paid any attention to The National Day of Prayer anyway. It isn’t like they didn’t deliver the mail or anything.

    And why do we need a National Day of Prayer anyway? Xians or whoever can pray all they want whenever they want to whatever they want all the time. It is a free country.

    This day just seems like an excuse for the right wing Christofascists to exercise some political muscle and shock and awe all the normal citizens. Who were mostly oblivious to the whole thing.

  67. #68 detrius
    April 16, 2010

    America already has “National Days of Prayer”.

    They’re called “Sundays”.

  68. #69 llewelly
    April 16, 2010

    Everyone here should keep in mind that this decision may go to the supreme court, where Justice Stevens, one of the few Justices almost certain to favor the FFRF position, is soon to be replaced – probably before the decision could reach the court. If you want this decision to have any real chance of holding, do everything you can to see that Stevens is replaced by someone with as strong a record on separation of church and state as he has.

  69. #70 ihedenius
    April 16, 2010

    Looks like the NDoP was pushed through with very similar motivations (commies etc) as ‘under god’. If it is held up (which it likely won’t) then it could help the case against the latter.

    Trivia note, Both Stevens and Crabb are old enough to remember the original pledge.

  70. #71 kennykjc24
    April 16, 2010

    There is NO WAY the USA will get rid of the national day of prayer. I don’t know what this judges decision will have in the grand scheme of things, but this is one of the things (like god on the money) that won’t be reversed any time soon.

  71. #72 Islander
    April 16, 2010

    From the Opinion:

    B. The 1952 Statute
    In 1952, evangelist Billy Graham led a six week religious campaign in Washington, D.C., holding events in the National Guard Armory and on the Capitol steps. The campaign
    culminated in a speech in which Graham called for a national day of prayer:

    Ladies and gentlemen, our Nation was founded upon God, religion and the
    church . . . .
    . . .
    What a thrilling, glorious thing it would be to see the leaders of our country
    today kneeling before Almighty God in prayer. What a thrill would sweep this
    country. What renewed hope and courage would grip the Americans at this
    hour of peril.
    . . .

    On April 17, 1952, Congress passed Public Law 82- 324:
    The President shall set aside and proclaim a suitable day each year, other than
    a Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United
    States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and
    as individuals.

    I can’t express in words how happy I am to know that this repulsive fraud saw the day that his poison was taken off the lawbooks before his miserable existence came to a close.

    Bring on the fight. [laces up shoes]

  72. #73 Islander
    April 16, 2010

    There is NO WAY the USA will get rid of the national day of prayer.

    That’s what was said about prayer in public schools.

    I see your point though, which is why I think the FFRF should be ready with a call for a National Day of Blasphemy, just in case. Either way, they have earned regular donations from me.

  73. #74 DLC
    April 16, 2010

    Billy Graham went to DC, bribed his way into a WH luncheon and thereafter everything went his way.
    It was one of the biggest cons since James Reavis.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Reavis)
    And he more or less got away with it.

  74. #75 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 16, 2010

    So what the hell is prayer for?

    The joy of Calvinism. lol

    Prayers are like magic. It’s to envoke a supernatural force, like God, to do the person’s wish. So technically, all people who engage in prayer engages in witchcraft and are therefore to be stoned according to their own Bible.

  75. #76 Danu
    April 16, 2010

    Some of the comments on the Freepers site are … are … well, judge for yourselves:

    *Federal judge declares jihad against National Day of Prayer.

    *I’m not going along with the ruling and I dare the judge to send the US Marshalls to come around and make me conform.

    *Liberal white females – the source of most problems.

  76. #77 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 16, 2010

    *Liberal white females – the source of most problems.

    I’m going to go eat a baby now, I’m irritated again.

  77. #78 Escuerd
    April 16, 2010

    The secular purpose test sounds a bit too loose to me. It’s easy to come up with a nominal secular purpose for all sorts of things, and they would still violate the first amendment.

    For example, requiring everyone to join some Christian church could serve the secular purpose of increasing national unity and cohesion. It would still be a clear violation of the spirit and the letter of the first amendment.

  78. #79 Ray Moscow
    April 16, 2010

    Yay! It’s a rare win for the side of “the f*cking obvious”.

  79. #80 Grizzly
    April 16, 2010

    Why not replace it with a National Day of Action? Stop praying and DO SOMETHING about whatever it is you’re concerned about.

  80. #81 Midnight Rambler
    April 16, 2010

    Danu @76: But, remarkably, there’s one that says “In a way, I can see the point…”, actually sort of agreeing with the decision although they seem to like what Sekulow says too. I was banned from Freeperville before my first comment even showed up for expressing similarly cautious support for church-state separation (they ban your email address as well, so sockpuppetry is difficult).

  81. #82 Walton
    April 16, 2010

    In support of the bill, Representative Brooks stated that ?the national interest would be much better served if we turn aside for a full day of prayer for spiritual help and guidance from the Almighty during these troublous times. I hope that all denominations, Catholics, Jewish and Protestants, will join us in this day of prayer.?

    So… Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahá’í, Sikhs, neo-pagans, and anyone else who is neither Catholic nor Jewish nor Protestant, doesn’t get invited to “join us in this day of prayer”? It appears that Representative Brooks doesn’t realise that any religious sects exist except those he can see from his window in his good ol’ hometown. And of course, those of us who have the temerity not to believe in gods or prayer at all don’t even get a mention.

  82. #83 Carlie
    April 16, 2010

    *Liberal white females – the source of most problems.

    Damn right.

    So… Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahá’í, Sikhs, neo-pagans, and anyone else who is neither Catholic nor Jewish nor Protestant, doesn’t get invited to “join us in this day of prayer”?

    No, they get thrown out.

    “Madan Goyal, a member of a Hindu congregation in Plano, Texas, was excluded from National Day of Prayer services held at Plano City Hall in 2005. (WFAA, May 5, 2005)

    Lori Wagner of the National Day of Prayer Task Force asserted that the group was Christian-only in 2005. (The Detroit News, April 6, 2005)

    An interfaith group including Hindus, Muslims, Jews and other religions has been excluded from National Day of Prayer activities held in the Troy (Mich.) City Hall. (The Detroit News, April 6, 2005)

    Rev. William Keller, who organized 2003 National Day of Prayer services on the steps of city hall in Muncie, Ind., said non-Christians were free to ?follow the devil and Judaism and all that,? after refusing to allow Jewish and Islamic prayers at the group?s service. (Associated Press, May 1, 2003)

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not allowed to perform services at a National Day of Prayer event in Salt Lake City in 2004. NDP Task Force spokesman Mark Fried said that the NDP Task Force doesn?t recognize the Mormon faith. (Associated Press, May 4, 2003)”

  83. #84 Brother Billy
    April 16, 2010

    Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, Followers of the Devil or whatever- it’s all pleading with thunderstorms anyway.

  84. #85 aratina cage
    April 16, 2010

    I’m a Christian. I pray continually every day all year long.
    -calvin #37

    Ew, TMI. Can’t you keep that to yourself? Also, see #64 for reasons why you might consider stopping that practice.

  85. #86 Stogoe
    April 16, 2010

    @2:That word “embraces” – I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

    Sure it does. It means “strangle”, right? And it always has. IT. ALWAYS. HAS.

  86. #87 David B
    April 16, 2010

    Once again it shows that the prayer mongers haven’t read their own goddam holy book.

    ‘Matthew 6:5-6
    And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.’

  87. #88 Walton
    April 16, 2010

    Carlie @#83: What a surprise. Of course, if they called it the National Day of Evangelical Protestant Self-Congratulation, that might make it a bit too obvious.

    It should be manifest, to anyone who’s ever read a single US court decision on the subject, that an event which is primarily aimed at promoting the beliefs of a particular religious sect, while excluding everyone else, cannot be sponsored by federal or state government without falling foul of the First Amendment. But hey, I guess it’s too much to ask Freepers to read anything more challenging than a bumper sticker. Or to even consider any court decisions written by eeebil liberal activist judges, especially if *gasp* they happen to be women.

  88. #89 Shplane
    April 16, 2010

    #76

    Dear… Imaginary Space… Leprechaun…

    SO FUCKING STUPID

    FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

  89. #90 Jam
    April 16, 2010

    So apparently The Alliance Defense Fund people think the nation was founded in 1952, because they said Crabb’s ruling undermines American tradition dating back to the nation’s birth.

  90. #91 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 16, 2010

    @Dano #76:
    *I’m not going along with the ruling

    So…he’s going to hold his own little Congressional vote and his own little Presidential signing ceremony or something?

    Why do so many religionists confuse the government not supporting religion with the government banning religion?

  91. #92 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    Next on the agenda:

    Get god off the damn currency.

  92. #93 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    DavidB

    Matthew 6:5-6…

    Please… as if christians are going to start suddenly doing that.

    Half the appeal of being a christian for most christians is the ability to shove their christianity in everyone’s face (or up their ass, depending on the christian in question, of course).

    What fun is being a morally superior human being if you don’t get to make sure everyone knows it?

  93. #94 MetzO'Magic
    April 16, 2010

    Midnight Rambler @ #81

    If you are signing up to post on a site that you suspect may ban you for not towing the ‘party line’, just use Mailinator:

    http://www.mailinator.com/

    Everything you send there just goes into a black hole (well, you can read it if you know the e-mail address, in case you need to respond to a registration e-mail). So… when they ban your current e-mail, just make up a new one and re-register with that :-)

    Also very useful for signing up to places you suspect might perpetually spam you with ‘offers’. The original intent of the site was to dodge that stuff.

  94. #95 Katharine
    April 16, 2010

    When do we get to remind the fundies that the nation doesn’t just consist of their religious groups?

  95. #96 lettuce.pickles
    April 16, 2010

    Ahh, a US District Judge from Wisconsin, Barbara Crabb… That oughta give you smart Minnesotans something to think about.

    Go Judge Crabb!

    And the secular purpose argument is not a defining one… Judge Crabb hasn’t pointed out what she thinks, and any sane observer would think: There is no secular argument.

  96. #97 jimvijay
    April 16, 2010

    Modern day religionists – especially the rabid right-wing types – intentionally forget that the wall of separation between the state and church was put in the constitution because of pleas from other religionists. Not because of anti-religionists.

    The religionists could band together and proclaim a day (or a week or whatever) of prayer without the imprimatur of the state. But that never seems to satisfy them.

    The most ridiculous instance of this is the license plate controversy. They could put huge bumper stickers on their cars proclaiming whatever idiocy they want. But no, they want those precious square inches in the state-provided license plates!

  97. #98 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    Meh. What did the DOP ever do to me? It’s not like they sent well-heeled agents with threatening briefcases to my hme, saying “Ve haff vays of makink you pray.”

    If some fat cat politician wanted to get in with the Religious Right (or Reich, if they’ve done something Godw-in worthy lately), what skin is there off my nose? And now that it’s cancelled, what benefit accrues to me?

  98. #99 tsg
    April 16, 2010

    The secular purpose test sounds a bit too loose to me. It’s easy to come up with a nominal secular purpose for all sorts of things, and they would still violate the first amendment.

    For example, requiring everyone to join some Christian church could serve the secular purpose of increasing national unity and cohesion. It would still be a clear violation of the spirit and the letter of the first amendment.

    In fact, and I’d have to do some research to find it, but at least one judge has said that the secular purpose prong of the Lemon Test is a deliberate “low bar”, and that “accommodating religion” satisfies that requirement. I can certainly see how some could abuse this interpretation. Your example, on the other hand, would clearly fail the other two prongs of the Lemon Test.

  99. #100 tsg
    April 16, 2010

    Meh. What did the DOP ever do to me? It’s not like they sent well-heeled agents with threatening briefcases to my hme, saying “Ve haff vays of makink you pray.”

    If some fat cat politician wanted to get in with the Religious Right (or Reich, if they’ve done something Godw-in worthy lately), what skin is there off my nose? And now that it’s cancelled, what benefit accrues to me?

    You should definitely call the Supreme Court then and tell them that it doesn’t affect you. I mean, why else have the “it doesn’t bother Kieranfoy” test in establishment clause cases if we’re not going to use it.

  100. #101 raven
    April 16, 2010

    So… Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahá’í, Sikhs, neo-pagans, and anyone else who is neither Catholic nor Jewish nor Protestant, doesn’t get invited to “join us in this day of prayer”?

    No, they get thrown out.

    Being totally oblivious to the whole Day, I didn’t know that they excluded nonxians, pagans, and so on.

    It isn’t that big a deal IMO , if the USA has a National Day of Pretending to Talk to Invisible, Undetectable Sky Fairies. Sort of like a children’s holiday except for adults.

    It is a big deal if they exclude and discriminate against other religions. Discrimination on the basis of religion is illegal and sort of tacky. Way for the christofascists to once again demonstrate their bigotry and moral bankruptcy.

  101. #102 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl6D5g7Wx6GyHJjkTz0ZpOMyUfLuwe1Tv8
    April 16, 2010

    Menyambal @64:

    “Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.” – Ambrose Bierce

  102. #103 BlueIndependent
    April 16, 2010

    Hmmm. While this is an interesting and symbolic win for FfRF and the cause of spreading secular democracy, I’m not sure I care much about this ruling. My question is: What is the end effect? The NDOP is what it is: A day that happens to have been marked by government for religious people to reflect. Granted I think that type of reflection is superfluous, frivolous, and useless, but it’s their gig. I’m not quite sure what potential evils stem from the NDOP, other than the odd fundagelical forcing kids in a public school classroom to pray early in May. That stuff happens regardless.

    I do see the point that supporters pray every day anyways, why have a holiday to do so. But I guess for me it comes down to the inevitable tit-for-tat-ism, where Christian groups will now try to tear down some secular day as a response, or attenuate their message by inventing another day that they’ll figure out how to get onto Congress’ docket, that’ll pass unanimously because the Republicans kneel and bow at the very mention of the word “christian”, and the Democrats will trample themselves to vote for it so as not to appear as Christian bashers.

  103. #104 tsg
    April 16, 2010

    It isn’t that big a deal IMO , if the USA has a National Day of Pretending to Talk to Invisible, Undetectable Sky Fairies. Sort of like a children’s holiday except for adults.

    The problem is that it’s the US Government directing its citizens to do so.

    It is a big deal if they exclude and discriminate against other religions.

    The Supreme Court has also held that promoting religion over non-religion discriminates against the non-religious.

  104. #105 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @tsg

    My. What particular variety of insect flew up your ass? Or is this an example of pack mentality?

    In mai Phyrangula? Ah will nah have it, laddie! We’re individuals, dammnit!

    “I’m not!”

    Shaddup.

  105. #106 Darreth
    April 16, 2010

    Yes! My yearly membership dues to the FFRF are working for me.

  106. #107 ambook
    April 16, 2010

    I’m a Christian. I pray continually every day all year long.
    -calvin #37

    The only kind of useful prayer is the self-talk variety that most people do in one way or another – sort of a reminder to select the hominid level altruistic response and not the 4-Fs of the hypothalamus type of response.

    One of the saddest things I’ve ever read was the blog of an evangelical friend whose husband fell 20 feet onto a concrete floor with massive head injuries. She was constantly praying and expressing her faith that Jesus would send a full, unexplainable healing to her husband and spent weeks at the hospital until the poor guy died. It would have been a lot more effective to pray for the ability to make compassionate health care decisions.

    Perhaps we should organize a National Day of Acceptance of Reality for May 6…

  107. #108 tsg
    April 16, 2010

    My. What particular variety of insect flew up your ass?

    The particularly annoying kind that thinks that because it doesn’t directly affect him, it isn’t harmful. Or were you just going out of your way to express how little you care about this?

    Or is this an example of pack mentality?

    Yeah, because there isn’t any disagreement in this or any other thread. Now, do you actually have anything useful to add to this discussion?

  108. #109 tutone21
    April 16, 2010

    One of the ironies here is the fact that most of the people that will become vocal about this being unjust are the same people that want less intrusion from the government.

  109. #110 Karstark
    April 16, 2010

    *I’m not going along with the ruling and I dare the judge to send the US Marshalls to come around and make me conform.

    Yes, because the US Marshalls have nothing better to do than come to your backwoods ranch in Montana where you sit around with your rifles masturbating in your own feces.

    It’s always like this with the faith-heads. As soon as they’re barred from enforcing THEIR religion on others, they seem to think it means that THEIR religion is being forced away.

  110. #111 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @tsg

    Seems to me you’re the one who’s not helping the discussion. of course, maybe neither of us are.

    It ISN’t harmful. If you think it is, explain to me why I’m wrong instead of bitching at me.

    As for disagreement, sure there is, but you seem to take my disagreement personally. I have an opinion different from you, don’t take it personally.

  111. #112 Matt Penfold
    April 16, 2010

    It ISN’t harmful. If you think it is, explain to me why I’m wrong instead of bitching at me.

    You will be aware there is already a problem within some parts of the US military with coercion being used to enforce religious observance. It seems fairly obvious that a National Day of prayer will do nothing to help those who already feel under pressure to conform. I am rather surprised you did not think of this, but may I was expecting to much.

  112. #113 KOPD
    April 16, 2010

    I expected to see all sorts of demonizations and distortions of this among my Facebook friends. To my amazement, nobody mentioned it. I’m trying to decide whether to post a link just to make sure people knows about it, or just enjoy the silence. :-)

  113. #114 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    Kieranfoy –

    You really don’t understand why the government promoting a religious exercise violates the First Amendment and why it is harmful?

    And do you not also understand that whether or not it is harmful to you is completely irrelevant to the larger discussion?

    When governments promote religious exercise, it has the effect of promoting religion, which then has the effect of excluding the irreligious at a government level. Do you understand why this is harmful?

  114. #115 ereador
    April 16, 2010

    Oh boy!

  115. #116 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Matt Penrod

    Thank you for showing me how polite and non-condescending you are. /sarcasm

    And, yes, I’m familiar with fundies in the ‘force. I don’t see any connection, though.

  116. #117 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Celtic Evolution

    No, actually, I understand forcing religion is harmfuil. I can’t see how saying ‘Let’s pray, folks’ is worth the kerfuffle.

    Legalities aside, there are trillions of things fundies are doing that actually cause real, physical harm, and compared to that a NDOP seems no more harmful than the White House Christmas dinner.

    And frankly, I don’t give shit if you think I’m irellevant.

  117. #118 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    As for disagreement, sure there is, but you seem to take my disagreement personally. I have an opinion different from you, don’t take it personally.

    When someone tries to make the asinine argument that ignoring the first amendment is simply a matter of “disagreement”, or that it’s not an issue cause it doesn’t bother “you personally”, those of us that would be directly and harmfully affected (the irreligious) are likely to take it very personally.

    If you don’t like it… well I’m sure you know what to do.

  118. #119 negentropyeater
    April 16, 2010

    Blueindependent

    But I guess for me it comes down to the inevitable tit-for-tat-ism, where Christian groups will now try to tear down some secular day as a response, or attenuate their message by inventing another day that they’ll figure out how to get onto Congress’ docket, that’ll pass unanimously because the Republicans kneel and bow at the very mention of the word “christian”, and the Democrats will trample themselves to vote for it so as not to appear as Christian bashers.

    First, what’s a secular day? If it’s a national day that serves a secular purpose, there’s nothing in the constitution that prevents Govt from declaring one. It’s actually the first prong of the Lemon test, which is used to judge the constitutionality of such things:
    The law must have a secular legislative purpose

    Second, what new Christian day invention are you thinking of? If it’s something that doesn’t serve a secular purpose, and if this ruling on the constituionality of the NDP holds or is confirmed by the SCOTUS, I don’t see how a tit for tat is going to happen?

    On both accounts I found your tic for tat argument completely baseless.

  119. #120 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Celtic Evolution: “If you don’t like it… well I’m sure you know what to do.” Follwing your example that would presumably be distort the arguments of my ‘opponents,’ get angry, and insult them.

    I’ll be sure to follow your instructions to the letter, fear not.

    And my argument, which everyone seems to be strawmanning, is that it doesn’t hurt people. Forgive for using myself as an example.

  120. #121 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Celticevolution: Also, where do you get the idea you speak for the ‘irreligious’? You don’t speak for me. I don’t take my arguments personally.

  121. #122 Matt Penfold
    April 16, 2010

    And, yes, I’m familiar with fundies in the ‘force. I don’t see any connection, though.

    Obviously not. However that is a failing on your part, not mine. If you cannot see having an officially sanctioned day of prayer provides ammunition to those who want to enforce their religious views on other members of the military then I can only conclude you do not understand the problem, or do not give a toss.

  122. #123 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    No, actually, I understand forcing religion is harmfuil. I can’t see how saying ‘Let’s pray, folks’ is worth the kerfuffle.

    Then you’re a moron. Especially when it’s being said as a government proclamation. As an irreligious person, I genuinely feel excluded by my government on the NDOP, and that’s exactly what the First Amendment was put in to prevent.

    Legalities aside, there are trillions of things fundies are doing that actually cause real, physical harm, and compared to that a NDOP seems no more harmful than the White House Christmas dinner.

    Again, you’re a moron. You don’t put legalities aside just cause you think they’re not important enough for you. And just because there are more harmful things being done, we should simply ignore the less harmful things? How ridiculous. It’s the subtle, less harmful things that religions try to do to get around the First Amendment, and then claim precedence when something of larger import is challenged. “Well, the government endorses a National Day of Prayer, so why can’t we endorse prayer over the PA system in Public Schools?”

    That actual argument has been made. And it’s awfully hard to argue against, frankly, when that comparison is made. This is the very reason the judge decided the way she did.

    But I’m sure you’re just way smarter than her.

    And frankly, I don’t give shit if you think I’m irellevant.

    Awww… did-ums get their feelings hurt? You can give a shit or not, whether or not this is a big deal to you is still irrelevant.

  123. #124 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    Ah, I’m loving the open-minded attitude towards slightly dissenting opinions. Truly a bunch of freethinkers, here.

    I mean, where else could I find people who actually state their opinions without anger, malice, or insults?

    Why, this stands as a shining beacon to the atheist community, and makes me proud to be one.

    Oh, wait. Nevermind, that’s another board.

  124. #125 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    I’m trying to decide whether to post a link just to make sure people knows about it, or just enjoy the silence. :-)

    Careful. Say that three times and you’ll summon the M*bus/M*rkuze.

  125. #126 gr8hands
    April 16, 2010

    So-called “christians” who set aside a day for prayer are ignoring the direct commandment in the bible:

    1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

  126. #127 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    And my argument, which everyone seems to be strawmanning, is that it doesn’t hurt people. Forgive for using myself as an example.

    No, we’re not strawmanning it at all… I’m calling your argument, that it doesn’t hurt people, narrow minded, myopic, and stupid.

    And as for telling us we’re using a strawman, you ignoramus, why don’t you go back and read your own initial post:

    Meh. What did the DOP ever do to me? It’s not like they sent well-heeled agents with threatening briefcases to my hme, saying “Ve haff vays of makink you pray.”
    If some fat cat politician wanted to get in with the Religious Right (or Reich, if they’ve done something Godw-in worthy lately), what skin is there off my nose? And now that it’s cancelled, what benefit accrues to me?

    I’ve highlighted all the important parts for ya, sparky…

    Now would you like to continue to tell us all how attacking the position that you feel like it doesn’t affect you is a strawman?

    Or will you be shutting the fuck up now?

  127. #128 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    April 16, 2010

    President Obama has decided that there will no longer be a “National Day of Prayer” held in May. He doesn’t want to offend anybody. Where was his concern about offending Christians last January when he allowed the Muslims to hold a day of prayer on the capitol grounds. As a Christian American “I am offended.” If you ag…ree copy and paste no matter what religion you are, this country was built on Freedom!!!!

    I saw this last night on FB as well… on my mother’s status no less.

    Needless to say, I took her and her friends to school on the Constitution and what can and can not be advocated.

    Some of the fun responses included, apparently oblivious people asking “So as a Christians, we can gather at the Capitol and pray?”

    I think he was expecting me to respond “no,” because he shut up right after I said, “Yes. Any religious group is allowed to gather and pray at the capitol just like the Muslims did.”

    Of course the “But taking away the National Day of Prayer” isn’t taking away our rights! It’s not hurting anyone because it promotes all prayer!”

    That person shut up after the response “You still have the right to pray whenever and wherever you want. You’re not losing any rights. The national day of prayer is superfluous because religion generally sets at least 1 day a week for prayer anyways.”

    The best part is that no one responded to my question as to whether they’d be okay with a “Blesphamy Day?”

    No one even responded to that.

    I’m definitely bringing up the fact that Obama supported the NDP later today. That’ll be fun to see their responses, especially the one that said something like “he hopes all the Obama supporters get what’s coming to them.”

    I think I pissed off my mom though because now most of her friends know I’m an atheist… something she’s been trying to hide. Oh well.

    -Kemanorel

  128. #129 slightlyharmless
    April 16, 2010

    When will these morons get the point that being founded *because of* religion does not mean founded *on* religion. In fact, it’s the OPPOSITE!

    America was founded *by* religious people *because of* their religious persecution – yes, but it was also specifically made secular *because of* what they had JUST LEARNED about states founded ON religion.

    I could move cross-country BECAUSE OF deadly crime but nobody would say my family is FOUNDED ON deadly crime.

    Cuz that would be stoo-pid.

  129. #130 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Celticevolution: I did say clearly I was using myself as example of how it affected no one. Or is it your understanding that other people are being forced to pray on that day by people with threatening briefcases and hokey German accents?

    Perhaps the phrase “Itmatters not to me if someone believes in no god or twenty, it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket’ sounds selfish to you? Or is it only narrow-minded and selfish when you don’t agree with it? A peron can use themselves as an example in an argument, especially a huumerously exaggerated one, and have it understood as applying widely by all but those bound and determined to misinterpret it.

    And, no. I’m not shutting up, however tempting it might be. I was under the impression that we unbelievers thrived on pilite dissagreement and other points of view. But maybe I was mistaken.

  130. #131 negentropyeater
    April 16, 2010

    Kieranfoy,

    And my argument, which everyone seems to be strawmanning, is that it doesn’t hurt people. Forgive for using myself as an example.

    First, that it doesn’t hurt you is not relevant evidence to support the affirmation that “it doesn’t hurt people”. It is sufficient that it hurts some people.
    Second, I think the NDoP hurts less people directly, than it hurts people indirectly by continuing to give Americans the impression that its Government endorses belief in God and a high religiosity. The NDoP is just one of those things which show that the Government is telling people that religion should continue to have an influence on the laws. Like with Gay Marriage or Abortion law and many other laws. The Govt should not get involved in any of this and treat religious beliefs as irrelevant noise.

    We must fight on all of these, whether they hurt you directly or not, because they all work together to hurt millions and millions of people in the USA.

  131. #132 kalibhakta
    April 16, 2010

    cool. yay for the enlightenment.

  132. #133 gr8hands
    April 16, 2010

    Kieranfoy, just because you are unaware of (or purposely ignoring) the impact of government promotion of religion, doesn’t lessen it in reality.

    The cumulative effects of isolated persecutions of non-believers makes it almost impossible for an openly non-believing candidate to be elected to public office in the U.S. – which has an actual, tangible effect on your life, even if you choose to ignore it.

    If you’re not a fully equal citizen compared with theistic citizens, based solely on belief, that is wrong, even if you personally don’t “feel” that you aren’t fully equal.

  133. #134 Matt Penfold
    April 16, 2010

    Ah, I’m loving the open-minded attitude towards slightly dissenting opinions. Truly a bunch of freethinkers, here.

    I mean, where else could I find people who actually state their opinions without anger, malice, or insults?

    Why, this stands as a shining beacon to the atheist community, and makes me proud to be one.

    Oh, wait. Nevermind, that’s another board.

    Quit complaining about the fucking tone, and address the substance of the arguments. If you can that is. That you are more worried about tone indicates you cannot.

  134. #135 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    Ah, I’m loving the open-minded attitude towards slightly dissenting opinions. Truly a bunch of freethinkers, here.

    You’re suggesting that on a freethinking board you should be able to state your opinion (which is “meh, doesn’t bother me, so who cares?”) without criticism?

    You clearly don’t understand freethinking.

    But keep claiming persecution by groupthink, if you actually think that’s any sort of argument.

    I mean, where else could I find people who actually state their opinions without anger, malice, or insults?

    Dunno and don’t care. Doesn’t bother me whether or not you’re met with anger, malice or insults.

    Why, this stands as a shining beacon to the atheist community, and makes me proud to be one.

    Fuck off, you pissant framer. Try making an actual argument. Despite what you may think, the atheist community doesn’t exist to give you a friendly and supportive tug job just because you deigned to post your vapidity.

  135. #136 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Negantropyeater: We may dissagree, but thank you for showing me a hint of common courtesy. It’s refreshing.

    Also, I wasn’t using myself as evidence, so much as a humerous example. My argument was that it doesn’t hurt people directly, and fundies who use it as an argument for ‘we’re a religious natin’ dn’t need it. They can make u garbage about ‘being founded’ and all that. Getting rid of it changes nothing.

  136. #137 Matt Penfold
    April 16, 2010

    @Celticevolution: I did say clearly I was using myself as example of how it affected no one. Or is it your understanding that other people are being forced to pray on that day by people with threatening briefcases and hokey German accents?

    But using yourself as an example, and saying it does not harm you and therefore does not harm anyone is both arrogant and idiotic.

  137. #138 gr8hands
    April 16, 2010

    Kieranfoy, imagine the response if you said “Well, I’ve never been raped, so rape doesn’t hurt people.”

  138. #139 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    We may dissagree, but thank you for showing me a hint of common courtesy. It’s refreshing.

    I fucking hate tone trolls. I mean,

    Meh. What did the mean atheists ever do to you? It’s not like we sent well-heeled agents with threatening briefcases to your hme, saying “Ve haff vays of makink you fuck off.” If some of us employ a little invective in our criticisms, what skin is there off your nose? And if someone on this board shows you a little courtesy, what benefit accrues to you?

    Really, this Kieranfoy Test of Utility works great!

  139. #140 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    Right. Guess I will be fucking off. Hard to argue with… *Does a headcount* five or six people all at once, arms with varients on “Quit dissagreeing, you wimpy quisling.”

    Bye, bye. Enjoy the self-congrtaulatory circle-jerk.

    Might be back if anyone wants to dicuss calmly and resonably, but frankly there’s a better chance of getting a polite, logical discussion out of a Tasmanian Devil then out of peopel who think I’m the Devil incarnate.

  140. #141 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    Kieranfoy:

    I did say clearly I was using myself as example of how it affected no one.

    Which is, for the third time now, stupid. Doesn’t affect you =/= doesn’t affect anyone.

    Or is it your understanding that other people are being forced to pray on that day by people with threatening briefcases and hokey German accents?

    Ah. Reducto ad absurdum. So is that the only way you think harm would be demonstrated? No… of course not, you’re just being a clown.

    Perhaps the phrase “Itmatters not to me if someone believes in no god or twenty, it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket’ sounds selfish to you?

    So only things that break your leg or pick your pocket are worthy of criticism or fit the definition of “harm”? What do you think the First Amendment is for, anyhow?

    Or is it only narrow-minded and selfish when you don’t agree with it?

    Well, to use the point I’ve been trying to make to you for several posts now, it’s really not (all) to do with how it affects me, personally. Still not getting that, I see.

    A peron can use themselves as an example in an argument, especially a huumerously exaggerated one, and have it understood as applying widely by all but those bound and determined to misinterpret it.

    I wasn’t arguing that you can’t make that argument. I’m arguing that the argument is stupid.

    And, no. I’m not shutting up, however tempting it might be.

    Yeah, I figured as much.

    I was under the impression that we unbelievers thrived on pilite dissagreement and other points of view. But maybe I was mistaken.

    Bullshit. You add the “polite” part if it suits you. My first response to you was not in any way impolite. Yo took umbrage and acted like a dick. What we are actually doing is simply disagreeing with you. It’s not the “disagreement” part that bothers you… it’s the fucking tone.

    Whatever. There’s a nice place for you over at the Intersection.

  141. #142 gr8hands
    April 16, 2010

    Now, now, Brownian, OM — there you go again, using “logic” and “common sense.” Where will that get you?

  142. #143 negentropyeater
    April 16, 2010

    Getting rid of it changes nothing.

    I disagree. The NDoP came into existence because of fundies like Billy Graham and Dobson more than 50 years ago. More than anything, it is a symbol of the growing and harmful influence the fundie religious right has had on twisting this country apart, of leading it into the hopefully by now terminated era of neo conservatism.

    Abolishing symbols is always useful if you want to really turn the page.

  143. #144 Qwerty
    April 16, 2010

    Since it doesn’t establish or promote any specific religion, I wouldn’t be surprised if the current supreme court okays the day of prayer.

    In reality, I think the “Day of Prayer” is only an excuse for the santimonious to act santimoniously.

    Though they can pray at anytime in anyplace, you can expect the James Dobsons and Jay Seculows to complain that this is religious persecution.

  144. #145 Paul
    April 16, 2010

    Since it doesn’t establish or promote any specific religion, I wouldn’t be surprised if the current supreme court okays the day of prayer.

    You mean with the Justice that argued that the Cross is not a Christian symbol? Yeah, if it makes it to the Supreme Court I give it a 70% chance of being overturned. It’s still a symbolic victory here.

  145. #146 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    Right. Guess I will be fucking off. Hard to argue with… *Does a headcount* five or six people all at once, arms with varients on “Quit dissagreeing, you wimpy quisling.”

    Actually no, they’ve all been variants of “just because you don’t think it affects you doesn’t mean it has no effect on anybody”, but you’re obviously too fucking flustered that people disagree with you to read, now aren’t you?

    Bye, bye. Enjoy the self-congrtaulatory circle-jerk.

    Clearly you’re just jealous that you didn’t get an invite, since all you’ve been bleating here for is a congratulatory wank for having to nuts to voice your cogent and well-though-out “meh”.

    Might be back if anyone wants to dicuss calmly and resonably, but frankly there’s a better chance of getting a polite, logical discussion out of a Tasmanian Devil then out of peopel who think I’m the Devil incarnate.

    Undoubtedly. Try the Intersection, and be sure to tell ‘em how badly you were mistreated here. Trust me: you’ll get more than a “meh, doesn’t bother me” from them, and you can all have a good cry about the inoffensiveness of National Day of Prayer in relation to being told you’re an idiot.

  146. #147 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    April 16, 2010

    Since it doesn’t establish or promote any specific religion

    If fails the test someone posted earlier:

    1) The law must have a secular legislative purpose;

    2) The law must not have a primary effect of either promoting or inhibiting religion;

    3) The law must not excessively entangle government with religion.

    Not really #2, not #3 at all, but it definitely fails #1. There is no secular purpose at all.

  147. #148 tsg
    April 16, 2010

    Right. Guess I will be fucking off. Hard to argue with… *Does a headcount* five or six people all at once, arms with varients on “Quit dissagreeing, you wimpy quisling.”

    Bye, bye. Enjoy the self-congrtaulatory circle-jerk.

    And now the Drama Queen ExitTM.

  148. #149 IslandBrewer
    April 16, 2010

    On a side note:

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not allowed to perform services at a National Day of Prayer event in Salt Lake City in 2004. NDP Task Force spokesman Mark Fried said that the NDP Task Force doesn?t recognize the Mormon faith. (Associated Press, May 4, 2003)

    In Salt Fucking Lake Fucking City? Next, the NDP excludes blacks from services in Harlem!

  149. #150 slugboi
    April 16, 2010

    I declare the last Saturday in May (since the first Saturday is free comic book day) “national touch a unicorn on the fanny” day. It should be just as productive as the “national day of prayer.”

  150. #151 Kristine
    April 16, 2010

    What I don’t get is, considering the way the right wing talks about Barack Obama, you’d think these people would be happy that the Messiah/Antichrist/noncitizen is no longer federally mandated to make us all pray, and maybe to him! Am I right? Am I right?

    I mean, which is it? Is Obama the Antichrist, or a Muslim, or a furriner, or is he constitutionally the President and thus trustworthy enough to uphold the right wing’s little Christian feifdom? They can’t have it both ways.

  151. #152 IslandBrewer
    April 16, 2010

    @#147

    Actually, it fails the second prong of the Lemon test, too (The law must not have the primary effect of either promoting or inhibitin religion.)

    While you could persuasively argue that the law, in essence, doesn’t actually promote religion(e.g. convert the nonreligious to religious, or make religious people MORE religious), there is really no other inherent effect other than to promote a religious activity (synonymous with promoting religion.)

    If not, then it begs the question, hhat is the PRIMARY effect of the legislation, if not promoting religion?

  152. #153 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @Kristine:

    But, Kristine, didn’t you know? The NDOP is run by good, God-praising Christians Saints, laboring under the lash of the Evil Muslim Dictator (TM) who stole the election by brainwashing the electorate with Satanic Rituals (TM). Any True Christian (TM) can have only sympathy with those poor, humble God-fearing Congressman and their valiant attempt to end Obamanations tyrannical Muslim opression by cleaving to our valued Fundamentalist Founding Fathers (TM) Vision for the Futures (TM).

    /sarcasm

    It’s fundie double-think.

    More concise the non-sarcastic way, but less fun.

  153. #154 tsg
    April 16, 2010
    1) The law must have a secular legislative purpose;

    2) The law must not have a primary effect of either promoting or inhibiting religion;

    3) The law must not excessively entangle government with religion.

    Not really #2, not #3 at all, but it definitely fails #1. There is no secular purpose at all.

    I would argue that the government encouraging its citizens to pray does have the primary effect of promoting religion. And I think it’s also important to point out that the Lemon Test isn’t confined to “the law”, but “the government’s action”.

  154. #155 KOPD
    April 16, 2010

    Somebody’s auditioning for the Intersection, I think.

  155. #156 tutone21
    April 16, 2010

    Penfold @122

    Obviously not. However that is a failing on your part, not mine. If you cannot see having an officially sanctioned day of prayer provides ammunition to those who want to enforce their religious views on other members of the military then I can only conclude you do not understand the problem, or do not give a toss.

    Where did you get the information from about the military?

  156. #157 IslandBrewer
    April 16, 2010

    During this small step by a judge in the right direction, she felt the need to pander to religion.

    She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action.

    As Joel @ #42 already pointed out, the judge is merely articulating a part of the Lemon test.

    Going back and reading the entire decision, there is a part of the opinion in the introduction where the judge seems to be pandering to religion – talking about how it is an important part of American tradition, spirituality, practice, yada-yada-yada.

    But to those of us familiar with court opinions, this is a standard way of pre-emptively slapping down an argument, ie, “Yes, prayer is important and wonderful and cured your Aunt Millie’s warts … but that isn’t an appropriate constitutional argument.”

    It’s the judicial equivalent of saying, “You’re a great guy, and I really really like you as a friend.”

    If you ever argue a case before a judge, and the judge issues an oral decision from the bench, and starts off by praising you and your argument, you know you’ve lost.

  157. #158 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    tutone21

    It’s been fairly well documented that christianity is fairly well pushed upn soldiers in the military and certainly heavily endorsed.

    As for citations of this, for starters there was a lawsuit brought against the Pentagon over christianity being essentially mandatory in the military. Read about that here.

    More here, and here, and you can find more info dealing with this issue on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation website.

  158. #159 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    But to those of us familiar with court opinions, this is a standard way of pre-emptively slapping down an argument, ie, “Yes, prayer is important and wonderful and cured your Aunt Millie’s warts … but that isn’t an appropriate constitutional argument.”

    Exactly. It is entirely appropriate for the judge to point out that religion is a fine thing as a personal way of life, and much of this country has roots in christianity and keeping your religious traditions is fine. But government endorsing any religion, or religion over irreligion, is a constitutional no-no, and the NDOP clearly does that, in her opinion (which matters, as a judge and all).

  159. #160 negentropyeater
    April 16, 2010

    For those who might argue that the law doesn’t have as primary effect to promote religion or that it does not excessively entangle government with religion, please read what it means currently in actual practice:
    (from the opinion from Judge Crabb linked above)

    The National Day of Prayer Task Force was created in 1989. It is a private
    organization with a mission to ?communicate with every individual the need for personal
    repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and
    its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business,
    Education, Church and Family.? It offers ?draft? proclamations for the President to consider
    and it chooses a theme each year with supporting scripture from the Bible. In 2001, the
    President incorporated the task force?s theme of ?One Nation under God?; in 2008 he
    adopted the task force?s theme of ?Prayer! America?s Strength and Shield.? The chairperson
    for the task force has spoken at eight White House prayer services on the National Day of
    Prayer.
    The task force organizes between 30,000 and 40,000 prayer gatherings across the
    country in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer. Events sponsored by the task force
    are “specifically limited to the Judeo-Christian heritage and those who share that conviction
    as expressed in the Lausanne Covenant,? which includes beliefs that the Bible is ?the only
    written word of God, without error in all that it affirms? and that ?there is only one Savior
    and only one gospel.? Coordinators, volunteers and speakers at task force events must share
    these views in order to participate.

    If that’s not government entanglement with the Judeo Christian religions and active promotion of the same, I don’t know what is?

    So not only do we need to make sure we get rid of this nonsensical NDoP because it has no secular purpose, but also because the private judeo-christian NDoP Task Force it engenders should have zero influence on Govt.

    This whole thing makes a complete joke of the 1st amend.

  160. #161 Kieranfoy
    April 16, 2010

    @negentropyeater

    It does all that? Or, did.

    Wow. Color me disgusted. I’m starting to realize why everyone’s undies got so tangled. Good on the judge, then!

    Sword and shield my pale, pink ass end. More like “Faith, our reason for nuking godless commies.”

    Also, apologies all for being snippy. Severely undercaffienated me does tend to resemble a jerkass, at times.

  161. #162 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    Good on you for coming around, Kieranfoy… and for being human enough to acknowledge fault.

    Try not to get too hung up on tone, here… the tone may often be sharp and, occasionally, downright vitriolic, but at the end of the day what we’re concerned about is content and reasoned evidence.

    Call me a filthy, stupid, ignorant, bile-soaked fuckstick… I’ll only care if you don’t bother addressing the content of the discussion.

  162. #163 Steven Mading
    April 16, 2010

    This is going to be appealed, I predict, and it won’t last because the Supreme Court is in the pocket of Big Religion ™.

  163. #164 aratina cage
    April 16, 2010

    I declare the last Saturday in May (since the first Saturday is free comic book day) “national touch a unicorn on the fanny” day.
    -slugboi

    Now that’s something I can get behind.

  164. #165 tutone21
    April 16, 2010

    Great post negentropyeater. I had a lot of the same sentiment as Kieranfoy prior to reading that. And the literature from CE was helpful. I was in the Marine Corps many years ago and didn’t see/feel any pressure to become a Christian, and I would say that the people that I knew then were “christian” in the sense that if asked that is what the answer would have been. Not so much in the sense of understanding what exactly was being declared. A few times we had some Baptist kid try and say a prayer and it was met with a lot of “Shut the Fuck UP!” It appears that a lot has changed. Of course, having read the 1st article, and having been in charge of troops at the ripe old age of 20 I would say that it is quite possible that the Specialist singled out for being an Athiest was descriminated against more for being an individual at that moment than being an Athiest. I know that I heard several complaints about everything from going to the Dr. to eating to drinking water from my men and I would often reply with a, “Look Private (insert name), you aren’t fucking special. Just fucking do it and complain to someone else later because I don’t give a shit.” There wasn’t a whole lot of thought about me infringing on other’s rights.

  165. #166 David Marjanovi?
    April 16, 2010

    What I don’t understand is the point of having a National Day of Anything that isn’t an actual holiday, you know, a day when people don’t work, when shops and schools are closed and so on. It seems to me like a proclamation of “this is sooooooo important to us, except we’re completely unwilling to do anything even symbolic about it”.

  166. #167 gr8hands
    April 16, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution, no one ever calls you “ignorant.”

  167. #168 v.rosenzweig
    April 16, 2010

    Negentropyeater–

    That’s an excellent post, but one point: this is a case where “Judeochristian” is a cover for “Christian, but we’ll say nice things about the Jews along with trying to convert them and not actually wanting to be near them.” There is nothing Jewish about biblical inerrancy and one savior is not remotely Jewish. While it’s not considered the direct word of God, most Jews would give more credence and attention to Talmud than to Paul’s letters.

    I’m not theologically Jewish (like most people posting here, I’m an atheist), but neither am I in any hurry to use the other side’s vocabulary (and that is specifically Christian vocabulary).

  168. #169 Kristine
    April 16, 2010

    Mushy-headed secularists don’t get it either.

  169. #170 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    Also, apologies all for being snippy. Severely undercaffienated me does tend to resemble a jerkass, at times.

    See? You fit in here better than you thought. Anyways, good on you, and generally I agree with the rest of what that filthy, stupid, ignorant, bile-soaked fuckstick Celtic Evolution wrote.

    tutone21,
    I can certainly see a reason for wanting everyone to grin and bear it, especially in war time, but it seems less nowadays like “nobody likes the food, private, so quit beefing and eat the damn chow” and more “join hands with everybody and declare that you’ve take our lord, Jesus Christ, into your heart or maybe we don’t trust you so much in a firefight.”

  170. #171 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    gr8hands –

    Celtic_Evolution, no one ever calls you “ignorant.”

    Au contraire… I’ve been guilty of flat out ignorance a time or two over the years here… and have been rightfully called out for it. I’d like to think I learned from the experiences, humbling as they are.

    Plus, see what Brownian just called me in #170?

  171. #172 Kristine
    April 16, 2010

    Whoops, here’s the link:
    http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2010/04/praying-for-common-sense.html

    But there is a doctrine in the law known as “de minimis,” from a Latin maxim that basically says that government officials shouldn’t concern themselves with trivialities. The National Day of Prayer is a pretty good candidate for the “de minimis” rule.

    In other words, now that McCarthyist authoritarians crammed the NDOP down our throats, we’re being nitpicky to question it. What an idiot!

  172. #173 Steven Mading
    April 16, 2010

    Posted by: lettuce.pickles | April 16, 2010 9:40 AM
    Ahh, a US District Judge from Wisconsin, Barbara Crabb… That oughta give you smart Minnesotans something to think about.
    Go Judge Crabb!

    This particular judge is in the Federal court district that includes the FFRF headquarters in Madison, WI, so she’s used to seeing the FFRF’s cases on her desk. (The Federal court offices in Madison, and the FFRF building, are literally just a few blocks’ walk from each other.) Often when an FFRF case goes big and hits the Supreme court, this small local court is where it began before it got elevated that far.

    Official ruling from the court: http://www.wiwd.uscourts.gov/assets/pdf/FFRF_v_Obama_Order.pdf

  173. #174 Moggie
    April 16, 2010

    The first Friday of June is National Donut Day in the US. It was originally established by the Salvation Army, with a charitable aim, which apparently continues to this day. As far as I’m aware, it involves no presidential proclamations, and no “task force” entangled with the government. This is just one example of countless “national days” declared by charities, companies and special interest groups.

    Any organisation is free to declare a “national day” of whatever cause they wish to promote. If a consortium of churches want to promote prayer (I mean, more than they do all the damn time) by declaring a day for it and funding and publicising this themselves, nobody will stop them. So why do they need to involve the government? I don’t recall their Jesus requiring government help.

  174. #175 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 16, 2010

    I declare the last Saturday in May (since the first Saturday is free comic book day) “national touch a unicorn on the fanny” day. It should be just as productive as the “national day of prayer.”

    Funny. I thought it was the unicorns that did the chasing after fannies.

    As for a secular purpose for prayer: If gods reveal themselves to be real and demand that all USAnians pray to them, if they’re not to dstroy the country. Then I suppose it could be argued that a NDOP would serve a secular purpose.

    Of course “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”, so I don’t see the argument making much headway.

  175. #176 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    Plus, see what Brownian just called me in #170?

    But…but…I addressed the content of your comment as well, so you said it’d be okay if we called you whatev—you know, a little consistency wouldn’t hurt, CE.

    Gah! Can’t write now; busy reading the HuffPo review of Chaplains Under Fire and wiping enraged flecks of spittle off of my monitor.

    Yes, even my spittle flecks are enraged.

    Baugham begins with this story about a chaplain and a dying soldier: “And the medic came over and said, ‘Chaplain, we have a soldier here who has three minutes to live. Whatever you do as a chaplain, now is the time to do it.’” After graphically describing the soldier’s injuries, Baugham continues the story with what the chaplain said to this dying soldier: “He says, ‘Soldier, this is Chaplain Ammerman. Do you know the Lord as your savior?’ And he said — no response — ‘Would you like to know him as your savior? You’re gonna meet him in a few minutes.’” Baugham then says that the soldier shook his head and uttered a series of groans, imitating this as “ah — ah — ah — ah — ah.” He continues the story: “He says, ‘Take my hand, and if you’d like to receive him just squeeze it as hard as you can.’ And Chaplain Ammerman reports that he almost broke his hand.” Baugham sums up the story by saying, “Now that’s real Christianity. That’s the difference between proselytizing and evangelizing. He offered him the blessed hope.”

    Even assuming that the soldier’s groans were something more than just noises from a barely conscious dying soldier in excruciating pain, and that the soldier squeezing the chaplain’s hand was actually an answer of ‘yes’ and not just the soldier squeezing the hand of whomever was there as he was dying, the important question is raised by Brown, who is watching Baugham relate this story on a laptop. “What would that minister have done if the soldier had said no?”

    A unique aspect of this film is that the commentators from opposite sides had the opportunity to view and respond to one another’s comments as the film was being made, making it more of an actual debate than just a bunch of separate comments, so Brown got the answer to her question. Baugham responded: “What if his response was no? I would say, ‘Jesus loves you, and I urge you with all my heart to accept his word. … So you’ve got to make to make a choice. You’ve got to make it real quickly.’ I would urge that soldier as quick as I could, ‘Take your chances with him. It’s the best bet you’ve got.’”

    Yes, that’s how the man who heads a group representing over 800 evangelical chaplains thinks those chaplains should treat a dying soldier who doesn’t want to accept Jesus.

  176. #177 Joffan
    April 16, 2010

    @Peter H #62

    We so very desperately need a latter-day Mark Twain!

    At the risk of accusations of sycophancy… perhaps we are commenting at his blog.

  177. #178 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    But…but…I addressed the content of your comment as well, so you said it’d be okay if we called you whatev?you know, a little consistency wouldn’t hurt, CE.

    Exactly! And it was perfectly OK! I was simply pointing out to gr8hands that people do occasionally call me ignorant. ;^)

  178. #179 tutone21
    April 16, 2010

    Browian @170.

    From the literature that CE gave I think you are right. There seems to be more faith-based indoctrination than when I was in 15 years ago. Just thinking about it, it makes for good strategy. What builds a succesfull squad/platoon/company/batallion…is the bond of brotherhood, and it seems that faith would be a readily available resource to tap. I would say that in the Armed Forces is primarily christian, if only in name. I could see that commonality being used to strengthen the bonds between soldiers, and segregate people that don’t conform. Of course, I have a HUGE problem with the military now so I guess the point is moot. Just some food for thought.

  179. #180 Qwerty
    April 16, 2010

    “NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER UNDER ATTACK!*” from the National Day of Prayer website.

    It does boggle the mind that religious conservatives who decry the government for its involvement in our lives want governmental involvement in a day of prayer.

    I mean there is nothing to stop them from legally doing this without state or federal proclamations.

    *Caps and exclamation point in original.

  180. #181 KOPD
    April 16, 2010

    @180

    Yeah, exactly. They complain that the government can’t handle anything right and yet they want it involved in their religion? Religion and morality seems to be the only things they want government involved in, and in those areas they want totalitarianism.

  181. #182 tsg
    April 16, 2010

    Yeah, exactly. They complain that the government can’t handle anything right and yet they want it involved in their religion? Religion and morality seems to be the only things they want government involved in, and in those areas they want totalitarianism.

    They don’t want government involved in their religion. They want their religion involved in government and government involved in everyone else’s religion. They start screaming about their First Amendment rights as soon as the government starts interfering with their religion, up to and including trampling others’ First Amendment rights.

  182. #183 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    I’m fairly sure you think we just can’t provide one, and although it pains me to indulge you in your childish little game, I will just to shut you up…

    We’ll start with this: Creationism puts the age of the earth at roughly 6000 to 10000 years old.

    Here’s the evidence that contradicts that (note – I’m copying and pasting much of this from a few sources to save time):

    - Radiometric dating shows the earth to be 4.5 billion years old. And if you dare question the reliability of radiometric dating I will inundate you with data proving otherwise.

    - Loess deposits (deposits of wind-blown silt) in China are 300 m thick. They give a continuous climate record for 7.2 million years. The record is consistent with magnetostratigraphy and habitat type inferred from fossils

    - If the earth is old, then radioactive isotopes with short half-lives should have all decayed already. That is what we find. Isotopes with half-lives longer than eighty million years are found on earth; isotopes with shorter half-lives are not, the only exceptions being those that are generated by current natural processes

    - Varves are annual sediment layers that occur in large lakes. They are straightforward to measure, cover millions of years, and correlate well with other dating mechanisms.

    And these are just the earth-bound pieces of evidence… we can also look at cosmological evidence, such as the measurable distance of stars being too far to support a young universe model.

    So… there’s one piece of evidence. If you can refute any of it with peer-reviewed literature, then do so… if not, then STFU.

  183. #184 KOPD
    April 16, 2010

    They don’t want government involved in their religion. They want their religion involved in government and government involved in everyone else’s religion.

    Well, I meant they want government “involved” in religion in the same way that a police officer is involved in jurisprudence.

  184. #185 Celtic_Evolution
    April 16, 2010

    Sorry… my post at #183 was ignorantly mis-threaded.

    Apologies… please disregard.

  185. #186 Lynna, OM
    April 16, 2010

    “During the eight years that Thomas Jefferson was President, he refused to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation. In a letter to the Rev. Mr. Miller, he gave his reasons for refusing:

    “‘I consider the Government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution of the United States from meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. . . . But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe, a day of fasting and praying. That is, I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from…. Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.’”

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/jeffstein.htm

  186. #187 Brownian, OM
    April 16, 2010

    @tutone21:

    I’m not doubting the importance of esprit de corps, but this seems different. Certainly, one of the ways it’s created is through experiences shared within the corps that others haven’t had (like Hell Week for Navy SEALs). But this is enforcing in and out groups by beliefs developed outside of the military. It’s as if there were a significant component of the military who were from Indiana, and the only way to advance (or not be discriminated against) were to be from Indiana or go through a special honorary ‘Hoosier Baptism’. Too bad if you’re a Wolverine from Colorado.

    Further, it would seem a non-denominational Christian approach would work better, since according to the HuffPo article I linked:

    Chaplains objecting to this sort of behavior by NCOs, officers, and even other chaplains, is not uncommon. Among the thousands of service members who have contacted MRFF—96 percent of whom are Christians themselves—have been a number of Christian chaplains.

    Sorry if this comes across as pedantic, as I’ve no doubt your experiences and knowledge in this area trump my hypothesising.

  187. #188 tutone21
    April 16, 2010

    @Brownian

    You are right on the money when you talk about shared experiences create that bond. I am just trying to rationalize faith being forced upon the military. The vast majority of the people that I served with were indifferent at best to religion, and spent most of their free time getting drunk,acting like fools and chasing women. They certainly didn’t go to church. If asked they (he/she) might say they were christian, but if the questions continued they’d likely be at a loss for a well thought out reason this is so.

    For some reason I don’t think that the military is trying to generate new christians. There isn’t a big payoff for it. So does it unify troops? Are they trying to instill morals? I don’t know, I am just surprised at what I am finding out and trying to see where the benefit is for doing something that blatantly stupid.

  188. #189 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 17, 2010

    Enjoy the self-congrtaulatory circle-jerk.

    Enjoy being a hypocrite.

  189. #190 call me Roy
    April 17, 2010

    Great, another Socialist judge who went to law school but apparently never got an “A” in a History or Civics class. ?If she had, she would have known that at the Constitutional Convention, after five weeks of nothing being accomplished. Benjamin Franklin stood up and said, ?Why is it that we have not once applied to the Father of Lights to eliminate understanding?? ?He said, ?In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, we had daily prayer in this room.? He went on to say that he had lived a long time, and the longer he lived the more convincing proofs he saw of the truth of God governing the affairs of men. He went on to move that, ?Henceforth, that prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings upon our deliberations in Congress be held every day.? And from that day in 1787, until today, the very day I?m talking with you, we start (each session of Congress) with prayer. President after president have had National Days of Prayer ? the whole country has. What part of don’t you understand Judge Crabb? This is a country founded on a Judeo-Christian philosophy. Holding a prayer day is a traditional event that does not compel anyone to attend nor does it constitute the establishment of a religion. Oh wait, I just remembered something! President Obumma may have tried to set a president for Judge Crabb last year: Wednesday, April 15, 2009. Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram ?IHS?–symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ?because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.
    How lucky can we get.

  190. #191 Celtic_Evolution
    April 17, 2010

    call me Roy –

    Shouldn’t you be at a tea party somewhere with a mis-spelled sign pretending not to be a racist?

    By the way, how exactly does one set a president?

    (I would have thought at the head table along with the other heads of state, but clearly you’ve got a take on this one that escapes me…)

    I thought for a moment your spelling of “Obumma” was trying to be insultingly ironical… but having read the rest of your post I’m not convinced you actually know how it’s spelled.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  191. #192 KOPD
    April 17, 2010

    …another Socialist judge…

    Socialism is an economic policy and has fuck-all to do with separation of church and state. And it’s interesting that if what you say is true, they still didn’t mention Jesus or God anywhere in the Constitution, and went on to add an Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It’s really a good thing that we base our laws on what they actually wrote in the Constitution, not what somebody supposedly said before a meeting.

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