Action Alert

Ask Obama to veto prayer addition to WWII memorial

This Monday, the House of Representatives passed S. 1044, a bill adding a religious inscription to the existing World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. If not vetoed by President Obama, the bill will add a plaque to the memorial containing the long prayer that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave on June 6, 1944, the morning of D-Day. 

President Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer began, “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity” and is replete with religious references. 

The D.C. World War II memorial, authorized in 1993, opened to the public over a decade ago, in April 2004. It took three separate public comment periods with the Commission of Fine Arts in 2002 and 2003 before the inscriptions currently on the memorial were approved. Now, Congress is attempting to bypass a similar public approval process by authorizing this controversial new inscription to the memorial. 

FFRF needs your help to preserve the existing memorial and ensure that all World War II veterans, not just those who believe in a god, are honored for their service! 

CONTACT 

Please click here to send a message directly to the White House urging President Obama to veto S. 1044.

Or phone the President at the White House comment line now: 202-456-1111 

Use your own words to voice your opposition to S. 1044, or cut and paste the wording below, after editing the opening line to reflect your status. 

Also, please thank the dozen members of the House who stood firm and voted against S. 1044: Mike Honda (CA 17th), Judy Chu (CA 27th), Hank Johnson (GA 4th), Tammy Duckworth (IL 8th), Niki Tsongas (MA 3rd), Katherine Clark (MA 5th), Keith Ellison (MN 5th), Jerrold Nadler (NY 10th), Suzanne Bonamici (OR 1st), Beto O’Rourke (TX 16th), Bobby Scott (VA 3rd), and Mark Pocan (WI 2nd). It’s particularly important to thank your representative if he or she is on the list above. 

TALKING POINTS 

Use your own words if possible, or cut and paste wording below.

I am a United States citizen and [taxpayer / veteran / active military service member]. I am also a nonbeliever, like one in five other adult Americans. Please veto S. 1044, which would add a divisive religious message to the World War II Memorial Plaza and Rainbow Pool in D.C., bypassing the extensive public comment period and years of debate over its design. 

For more than ten years, the memorial has served as a symbol of remembrance and solidarity in honoring all who defended the U.S. in World War II. The World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2013 (S. 1044) would alter the inclusive meaning of this iconic memorial. The bill sends a message to all of the many atheists in foxholes that their service to their country is less appreciated than that of their religious counterparts. Atheists and service members with no religious preference make up over 23% of the military. S. 1044 marginalizes nonreligious service members and belittles their service. 

On November 3, 2011, Robert Abbey, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, told a congressional subcommittee: “The Department [of the Interior] strongly believes that the World War II Memorial, as designed, accomplishes its legislated purpose to honor the members of the Armed Forces who served in World War II and to commemorate the participation of the United States in that conflict. It should not be altered in the manner suggested by [S. 1044].” S. 1044 is an unnecessary and divisive bill intended to inject religious rhetoric into what is otherwise an inclusive, powerful memorial to those who fought and died for our country.

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