In letter to USDA head

FFRF laments ‘drought of common sense’

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to stick to science and leave religion out of drought policy.

At a July 18 White House press conference, Vilsack said, “I get on my knees every day, and I’m saying an extra prayer now,” and “If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

FFRF takes issue with Vilsack’s suggestion that prayer is an appropriate governmental response to crisis, quoting Mark Twain’s aphorism: “It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain.”

While lauding Vilsack’s more concrete suggestions, such as aid packages, FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie caution in a letter sent today to Vilsack: “A superpower which looks to the supernatural — which engages in primitive thinking instead of critical thinking — is not going to remain a superpower.”

“Faith that the environment and rainfall are controlled by a supernatural deity who listens to our pleas is one of the stumbling blocks that prevents our country from addressing challenges underlying environmental disasters, like global climate change,” FFRF noted. The letter references remarks by two members of Congress offering “God’s will” and prayerful supplication as the only human responses to climate change.

“Superstitious thinking will not help us surmount the obstacles our country faces. This kind of thinking is a betrayal of our historic confidence in American ingenuity,” FFRF asserts. “Had NASA adopted Senator Inhofe’s attitude, we never would have reached the moon.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.