FFRF’s answer to Speaker Pelosi: Action, not prayer


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this Sunday placed on her official congressional homepage a prayer called “A Responsive Prayer for Justice.” Unfortunately, nothing fails like prayer, to repeat a phrase Freedom From Religion Foundation’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor famously coined. Co-President Dan Barker has continually exhorted pious politicians to “get off your knees and get to work.”

One of the earliest lobbyists for the separation of state and church was another secular activist by the name of Anne. Anne Royall quipped in the 1820s: “Good works, not long prayers.” Prayer is just an embarrassing admission of impotence — or an indication the invoker has no intention of offering genuine help. Madam Speaker, however frustrated you are by your Senate opponents, offering “thoughts and prayers” is offering nothing at all.

The Pantheon in Paris, once a Catholic church, is now a house of the people, its ceiling reflecting humanity, not made-up supernatural powers we must debase ourselves to and bow down to. The U.S. Capitol is likewise intended to be “The People’s House.” It should not be filled with useless, pompous prayer.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation suggests we take Speaker Pelosi’s prayer and turn it into a secular creed we all should be able to embrace:

Dear Members of Congress:

On this Tuesday morning, as you undertake to ensure the domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to We the People of the United States, we urge you to use your power and authority to —

Feed those who are hungry

Pass legislation to help those who struggle each week to pay their bills.

Shelter those who are homeless.

Care for the sick.

Listen to those who cry out for dignity.

Help those oppressed by unjust wages by passing meaningful legislation.

Strengthen anti-discrimination laws to help those who bear the yoke of prejudice.

Work to supply basic needs to those denied them.

Do all of the above — instead of praying about it.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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