The Freedom From Religion Foundation is urging President Obama to protect freedom of conscience by ending the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer.
In order to get its 'We the People' petition into the hands of the president, FFRF needs to gather 25,000 electronic signatures at the White House website by May 31. 'We the People' is set up by the White House to offer the public a way to petition the President.
Each year by Congressional decree, the prayer day takes place on the first Thursday of May. FFRF notes that evangelicals such as Rev. Billy Graham "hijacked the Constitution" when they lobbied to establish the National Day of Prayer in 1952, and set the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer date, by act of Congress in 1988.
The petition reads:
"We petition the Obama Administration to: End the unconstitutional National Day of Prayer, which violates the 1st Amendment. God & government are a dangerous mix.
Congress, in 1952, abridged freedom of conscience when, at the instigation of Rev. Billy Graham, it designated a National Day of Prayer, ordering the President to proclaim 'a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.' The U.S. President has neither the moral nor the constitutional authority to dictate to Americans to pray, much less to tell citizens what to pray about or set aside an entire day for prayer. Whether to pray, or believe in a god who answers prayer, is an intensely precious, personal decision protected under our First Amendment as a paramount matter of conscience. Don’t let Christian evangelicals hijack our secular Constitution."
Even though FFRF boasts over 18,000 members nationwide, it needs your help for this petition to go "viral" and garner the requisite 25,000 signatures ensuring Obama will respond. FFRF asks members and avid social media users to pass this along to friends and family.
FFRF has been challenging the National Day of Prayer for years, and, in 2010, won a historic federal court ruling declaring the public law unconstitutional. In her eloquent ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb stated: “The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy." She affirmed that Congress may no more declare a National Day of Prayer than it "may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic."
Obama appealed the ruling and an appeals court threw out the case, not on its merits, but on the question of standing. FFRF has two other ongoing lawsuits challenging gubernatorial prayer proclamations.
Thomas Paine advised: "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must undergo the fatigue . . . of supporting it."
Please take a moment to add your name to FFRF's petition to the White House.
INSTRUCTIONS: SIGNING THE PETITION
(Senior citizen freethinkers may wish to elicit the help of a grandchild and encourage him/her sign the petition too!)
1. Open your web browser and 'copy' and 'paste' either of the two links into the address bar:
2. If you don't already have a 'We the People' account at the White House website, follow the steps to create a username and password. (Note: The White House prompt on passwords specifically encourages at least six characters, a few numbers, and upper and lower case letters.)
3. Either choose 'sign in' or 'create an account'
4. Once you're logged in, click the green 'sign the petition' button
5. Click 'promote the peition' and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
CALL THE PRESIDENT
Tell the White House that you are offended and excluded by the National Day of Prayer Presidential Proclamation and that you don't believe in a god that answers prayer, much less that government has a right to push citizens to pray.
P.S. If you use Facebook, remember you can find freethought graphic choices to use as your Facebook Timeline cover photo. Several specifically are geared to be used on the National Day of Prayer (tomorrow, May 3) as a protest.
Thank you for your help!