National Day Of Prayer and Christian Revisionism

Last week there was a letter to the editor in my local newspaper, the Dodge County news,  about the National Day of Prayer events that will take place in my town on May 3rd,  2012.

Since I’ve just recently started a DASH (Dodge Atheists and Secular Humanists) group for local non-believers I thought that issuing a response to this letter would be the perfect way to introduce the existence of our group (which is a huge deal in a small town in the Bible belt) as well as refute the revisionist claims touted by many supporters of this National Day of Prayer.

You can find my letter below or you can click here  to view it on the Dodge County News website. Your feedback is appreciated.

Dear Editor,

I want to quickly and respectfully address Mrs. Brenda Woodard’s letter from the April 25th edition of the Dodge County News on behalf of a group of nearly 40 local atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists who wanted to express their disagreement with this letter and with the spirit of the ” National Day of Prayer .”

We simply want to express to the people of this community that the Constitution of this land does not and never has called this a Christian nation and we’d simply prefer it if we could not be included under such a banner. It would no more be right if my prerogative was to call this nation a Muslim one when it clearly is not and does not represent all of the people in any way.

It should be noted that in 1796 the Treaty of Tripoli was ratified unanimously by the Senate and signed by Pres. John Adams, it states in Article 11 as an assurance to the Ottoman Muslims that were also signing it:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

This is the thing that sets this nation apart from  those it was fleeing; that if you are to have a religion at all it is to be your own and not that of the state or the majority within the state.

We don’t intend to make a big deal of your event, though I’m not sure the Bible supports this sort of public display (Matthew 6:6). We don’t care if you pray, how you pray, or where you pray – we simply don’t want it assumed that we cannot be represented as legitimate members of our community and our nation because we do not ascribe to the doctrines of the majority.  Enjoy your event, just not in our names.

Anyone interested in our organization feel free to email us at for more information.

Respectfully Yours,

Matt Oxley
President, Dodge Atheists and Secular Humanists – D.A.S.H.


Now, you’ll notice that I’m not asking anyone to not participate in the National Day of Prayer, but that I’m simply asking that the title “Christian Nation” not be used as it is in the original letter.

Do you think I should have made protest of the National Day of Prayer and any government participation in it? or should we simply let bygones be bygones when it comes to exercising religious authority on government property?

I’ve got mixed feelings on the matter.


  • i'll wait until the hate flows at Dodge, then comment over there… LOL

  • Tana Schott

    As with tackling any out-of-control issue (and this one certainly has gotten out of control), we have to take it apart piecemeal and in cooperation. And I think the first step is in getting people to acknowledge that this ISN'T a Christian nation built on Christian biblical principles. That's become a doozy of a belief based on revisionist history – as you point out. But it's become this monster all on its own. So taking that apart is an important first step to the overall goal.

    If those of us who feel compelled to fight this fight want to be successful, we have to continually remind ourselves that the real issues are personal and psychological in nature – the fact that there is a nationally sponsored prayer day is the least of our concerns compared to the driving factors behind why this nation sponsors a national prayer day: when people are buying into revisionist history, believing in the lie that if their religion isn't the ruling religion then they will be martyred, believing that if their religion doesn't own this nation, doomsday will surely come. (And countless other false assumptions.)

    I didn't stop applauding National Day of Prayer because someone said, "Hey, NDoP is actually unconstitutional and the founding fathers had no intention of instilling Christianity as the religion of the land." No, I stopped applauding NDoP after many, many smaller realizations that actually packed far more punch. It took me realizing that in the long run, a "Christian" nation isn't in my best interest because depending on who is in power, it could easily become a "X" nation. And then what?

    I like your letter. I hope they print it.

    • Tana,

      You've pointed out precisely why I've chosen to take a more educational approach. In the past, when I was still an angry ex-christian trying to right all the wrongs that the faith caused me, I was bitter and spiteful toward people…I'd prefer now, and moving forward, to educate people into a better understanding of our own history…

      Plus, you'd think that with the background that this nation has – what with the slavery, the smallpox, the trail of tears, that believers would be quick to say "heck no, nothing Christian about that!"…. I digress.

      Thanks, and it was printed btw.

  • mythinformed

    As a reformed Christian, you understand very well why most of them are offended and want to 'shout it from the mountaintops', and I applaud your use of tact and respect to get your point across.
    I wish we could reboot humanity and start with fresh code…keep up the great posts, Brother Oxley, I quite enjoy your blogging!

    • Thank you Myth, a reboot would be nice.