The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance taking place on the first Thursday of May. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. According to the official National Day of Prayer website, its mission is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.
America is a melting pot with many religions and belief systems, and prayer should be a private matter that the government and public officials stay out of. But like he does each year, The president of the United States made his annual proclamation this morning that we turn to God in prayer. Instead of praying about our problems, why don't we take real action to fix the most pressing problems in America?
For example, let's take more steps to:
- Abolish hunger
- Eliminate illiteracy
- Focus on financial literacy
- Balance the budget
- End the war on terrorism
- Put an emphasis on health and curing diseases
- Eliminate the obesity epidemic
- Push more for equal rights and inclusion for all
- Teach critical thinking skills
- Teach self-responsibility
Is praying about hunger really going to provide a feast for a family with two kids who are food insecure? Is praying about your health really going to make you any healthier and takeoff those extra pounds? Is praying about your finances going to put a million dollars in your bank account? Why are so many people brainwashed to believe that prayer is going to make the hero on the white horse come riding in singing, "Here I come to save the day!"
It's time to look inside ourselves and band together as human beings to end the misery that visits so many. It's time to stop praying and start taking steps to reduce human suffering.
On a more personal level, treat people the way you want to be treated. Don't hurt anyone. Don't take something from someone without asking. Don't show behavior that includes hatred, bigotry or discrimination. Obey the laws established by society. Lend a hand whenever you can. Give to charity if you can afford to. Be fair and nice to yourself and others. Push yourself to be the best you can be.
Do we really need to emphasize prayer in America to accomplish these things? I think we'll be just fine our own. I love America as much as anyone and I'm proud to live here. But nobody should be forced to pray about anything and marking a day of prayer as a national observance isn't necessary. What's also unfortunate is that the National Day of Prayer is pushed from a Christian perspective, with the website clearly stating, "We utilized every opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ." What about our Jewish, Muslim and atheist citizens?
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation said, "Under our godless and secular constitution, public officials have no right or power to exhort citizens to pray, much less to set aside an entire day for prayer and even give citizens a laundry list about what to pray about."
If your own critical thinking tells you to pray to Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha or even the Spaghetti Monster, by all means say your prayers in the privacy of your own home or silently if in a public setting. But the minute the government or anyone else starts telling us to pray and what to pray about, that's crossing the line. It's another example of the people in power claiming to be morally superior and pushing their values on the rest of us. These are the same clowns who can't balance the budget and stop themselves from emailing lewd pictures to college girls, but... they are here to guide us.
One final point to consider: The National Day of Prayer website boasts the Pray for America Bus Rally, where a decked out bus traveled more than 5,000 miles from coast-to-coast encouraging prayer in America. I suspect the time and money to fund and promote such a project would have been better bringing real viable solutions to our country's worst problems, instead of simply encouraging people to pray about them.
The bottom line: it's time to start taking action instead of praying about it.