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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.