It took a decision by a U.S. District Judge, Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin- to render a decision which all atheists already know was too long in coming. That was, to rule that the insipid “National Day of Prayer” was unconstitutional. The decision asserted correctly that this national mockery violates the First Amendment prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion. (Note the definition of religion is generic here, and doesn’t have to apply to any specific religion.)
The decision was also a victory for the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group had sued the Bush and later Obama administrations in an effort to block presidents from making their annual proclamations inviting Americans to set aside a day for prayer or meditation. (Who do these presidents think they are, Mullahs, or maybe Ayatollahs? We don’t need any damned proclamations! If people want to petition or pray to some embolism emanating in their own temporal lobes, fine – but don’t make a national deal out of it!)
Anne Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, heralded Crabb's decision as courageous, and further observed:
“It's an invasion of the freedom of conscience of Americans to have their president direct their prayer or tell them to pray".
Again, so true. This is what we expect the Mullahs in Afghanistan or Iran to do. Crabb’s decision stands as courageous since most judicial districts and judges in any capacity remain cowed by the religious zealots and their political well wishers who still hold this country in their feverish, frenetic grip. Indeed, Jordan Sekulow of The American Center for Law and Justice (which filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of 31 members of Congress), said he was "confident the decision would be overturned on appeal."
"This is one district court judge," said Sekulow, an attorney with the public interest law firm founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. "It's not like it's happening all over the country. In no way do we think this is the mainstream of judicial thinking in the United States."
He may well be correct. But the “consensus” or unified position of even all other federal or state justices – or even the Supreme Court- doesn’t make their appeals decision right or in concert with the Constitution. Very often, it is the voice crying in the judicial wilderness – like Judge Crabb’s – which embodies the true perception and ruling. Crabb warrants praise for having the mettle and spine to come out with her decision in a god-besotted nation where even presidents jump on the god bandwagon to score cheap political points.
Few presidents possess the backbone to reject the tide or refuse to play the game. Even presidents who are detested in all other aspects of the national tapestry – from politics to economic policies. Obama is hated as a “socialist” or Hitler wannabe by much of the country, but this will not stop him from playing the god card. Indeed, he may be convinced doing so confers an added layer of protection – though most of those in nut country (as JFK once put it) don’t accept he’s a real Christian any more than a legitimate citizen.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice said it was reviewing Crabb's ruling before deciding on a next step. The White House said President Barack Obama would make his 2010 proclamation as planned. A disappointment, especially following his pathetic space futures speech yesterday. But I guess when the exploration dimension of a nation is shattered, god is about all there is to fall back on – never mind being fictional.
"We have reviewed the court's decision and it does not prevent the president from issuing a proclamation," according to one WH spokesman.
Even if Crabb’s ruling is overturned, no atheist or freethinker I know will accept any new one. Crabb’s will stand as the only correct pronouncement and decision, and we'll continue to harshly criticize any god-pandering presidents who lack the intestinal fortitude to say ‘No more!’ as opposed to acting the role of jellyfish.
Do we have some overarching objection to prayer? No, not at all, even though it's a totally vacuous, empty activity more to the benefit of the pray-ER than its object of worship, or extended purposes. (The claim that prayers helped sick people in hospitals was proven to be fraudulent some years ago, after the papers were subjected to further statistical tests and analysis. In particular, the thresholds for confidence in the z-tests and t-tests were way too open-ended).
We simply say let people pray on their own, in private, and for their own benefit if they must.
We don't need to turn it into some national spectacle, as if the U.S. merits more godliness than any other country.
Grow up, America, and stop acting like brats and squallering infants!