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FFRF Asks Bush To Apologize For Proclaiming "Jesus Day"

Is Every Day "Jesus Day" In Texas? How About An Atheist Day?

On behalf of its Texas membership, the national Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church separation watchdog group, asked Texas Gov. George W. Bush to apologize for issuing a recent proclamation proclaiming "Jesus Day."

It was recently revealed that Bush declared June 10 "Jesus Day" in Texas, calling on all citizens to "follow Christ's message of love and service in thought and deed."

"It is unfortunate that in so many ways, your administration acts as if every day is 'Jesus Day,' " the Foundation wrote Bush. As one such instance, the Foundation pointed out Bush has assigned a "God Pod" in a state prison to be run by an evangelical proselytizing Christian organization.

The Foundation objected to Bush's "pattern of insensitivity" in issuing "Jesus Day" proclamations in previous years as well, coinciding with a "March for Jesus" rally held around the nation.

The Foundation said Bush was not elected "Head Spiritual Cheerleader" but rather took an oath of office to uphold the Texas and the federal Constitutions. Art. I, Sect. 6 of the state constitution prohibits any preference "by law to any religious society or mode of worship."

"How much more preferential can a governor get than to proclaim an official 'Day for Jesus'? You owe every Texas nonChristian (as well as Texas Christians who cherish our First Amendment) an official apology."

"Would Gov. Bush proclaim an 'Atheist Day'? Would he urge citizens to emulate the distinguished service to humanity made by such unbelievers as Mark Twain, Thomas A. Edison, Carl Sagan, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, and Texas's own Nobel Laureate-physicist Steven Weinberg? Would he point out freethinkers have played such a vital role in improving the human condition because we invest our energies in this world, not some unknown one? We won't hold our breath," commented Foundation spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor.

The watchdog group asked Bush to emulate the example of Thomas Jefferson, who during his eight years as President refused to issue any Thanksgiving or prayer proclamations, writing:

"... civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents."

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