The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent letters chiding Govs. Bob Riley (Alabama), Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Rick Perry (Texas) and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (Florida) for calling for a "useless" day of prayer about the Gulf oil spill disaster on Sunday.
“Under our secular Constitution, elected officials have neither the moral nor the constitutional authority to dictate to constituents to pray, much less to set aside a day 'to pray' about the oil leak crisis.
“Last week, President Obama, in an address making no less than 17 references to god, prayer, blessings or faith, already called on Americans to pray. Yet the oil leak keeps gushing. Last Sunday, the Louisiana Senate called for an elaborate day for ‘intercessory prayer.’ And the oil just keeps gushing,” noted Foundation Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor in separate letters to each governor.
“Nothing fails like prayer,” they added.
“Our membership believes not in useless prayer, but in good works and action. We believe in public officials taking responsibility for the actions or inactions which have led to such crises. Prayer is the ultimate political copout. Prayer is what politicians fall back on when they don't want to offer true leadership.
“Please stop misusing your public office to inappropriately inveigh and exhort your constituents to pray. Instead we urge you to view this environmental disaster as a wake-up call and an opportunity to ensure that you will do everything in your executive power to ensure such disasters do not recur, and thereby to safeguard our future, our public waterways and our coastal areas from reckless and incompetently regulated drilling,” they wrote the five pious politicians.
To protest prayer proclamations by these governors:
Gov. Haley Barbour
PO Box 139
Jackson MS 39205
Gov. Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Governor Bobby Jindal
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge LA 70804-9004