<i>Watchdog Group Protests Bush's "Useless" Proclamation of Prayer</i>

Nothing Fails Like Prayer

Does Pres. Bush imagine that putting on the mantle of piety substitutes for action--or previous inaction--by his government?

Statement by Annie Laurie Gaylor
Co-President, Freedom From Religion Foundation

Pres. George W. Bush has announced a useless proclamation, to declare Friday, Sept. 16 as a "national day of prayer" in remembrance of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Does Pres. Bush imagine that putting on the mantle of piety substitutes for action--or previous inaction--by his government?

(Even with symbolic gestures, everything Bush did was too little, too late. The flags went at half-mast in federal buildings for a week immediately following the death of the Pope, a noncitizen, last spring. It took Bush a week to order this civil response to show respect for the dead, homeless, displaced, traumatized and injured in his own country.)

Is this proclamation a camouflage to draw attention away from the most disastrous governmental response to a disaster in U.S. history?

Perhaps when Mr. Bush asks Mr. Cheney to look into 'what went right and what went wrong' with the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, he might suggest that Mr. Cheney reread the U.S. Constitution. Our Constitution prohibits governmental union with religion, but is predicated on a government to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, [and] promote the general Welfare."

The way to show respect and compassion for the victims of Hurricane Katrina is to help the survivors. The best way to memorialize the dead (many of whom died not in the hurricane or flooding, but waiting to be rescued) is to ensure that what was preventable in much of this catastrophe is never repeated.

Americans are free to pray or not to pray, but it is not the business of our U.S. president to direct citizens to pray.

The saying around our office is, "Nothing Fails Like Prayer."

See FFRF's complaint about prayer during the week of the hurricane:

Hands That Help Are Better Far than Lips That Pray
Hurricane Relief Needs People Power, Not Prayer
"As usual, God gets the credit, never the blame . . ."

If you would like to comment on this proclamation, contact:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Comment line: 202/456-1111 Fax 202/456-2461

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics and other skeptics) working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

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