Hey AN. Here's a blog post I wrote about prayer in governments. Please feel free to visit Good Reason News for more.
I don't think I'm generalizing here to say that many religious folk (and indifferent people) are blind to how absorbed in religion our government is. There's been plenty of press lately involving Jeff Sharlet's exposé on The Family
and revelations about the Bush Administrations promotion of the bible
, but these high-profile, national-level cases aren't the only church/state offenders, and the time to start battling these practices at a local level is now.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is doing a great job of exposing and bringing to justice local practices of prayer at public government meets. The above podcast discusses, among other things, the actions taken against the local government of Grand Junction, Color...
town so adamant against acknowledging their constituional betrayal, they'd sooner publish awfully illogical and distracting editorials.
But the ffrf doesn't always win cases. Take, for example, Lodi, California's secretive meeting last night
to allow the town to pray sectarian (what they cleverly refer to as 'uncensored' prayers):
On Wednesday night, the council approved a new prayer policy with no discussion. The council decided to broaden its policy to allow religious leaders to offer uncensored prayers, which can include references to Jesus Christ. The policy also includes opening up the invocation or "Call to Civic Responsibility" to all religious and secular groups. During the prayer at Wednesday's meeting, First Church of Christ Scientist Pastor Arlene Proctor thanked the council for its service before reading several passages from the Bible.
In addition to contacting FFRF
, there is something you can do if this is happening in your town. Why not try prayer? Seriously. Try calling the bluff on their claims that they're not discriminating against non-Jesus based religions. Call for a prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster
. If the meeting takes place during the appropriate Islamic time
, ask for a pause so you can bow toward Mecca and see how they feel about it. Or, proclaim one of the Christian city council members to be your god, grovel at his or her feet and say a prayer out loud. Some people need to be taught their own hypocrisy through example. You have to, effectively, force them to wear your shoes for a moment so they can see why what they're doing is unconstitutional and morally wrong.
Battling this nonsense at the local level is the first step that must be taken to keep religion away from the federal government
and prevent chruches from controlling our lives.