Letter to Sonny Perdue

The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Office of the Governor
Georgia State Capitol
Atlanta GA 30334

Dear Gov. Perdue:

On behalf of our Georgia membership, our national state/church separation watchdog group is writing to remonstrate against your use of the Office of the Governor to organize, plan and pay for a prayer service.

Many of our nontheistic membership living in the Southeast are affected by this crisis drought (and some will be present at the “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” counter-picket Tuesday). It is a helpless feeling to watch even from a distance. Our hearts go out to everyone affected. Yet that does not excuse the use of government office to sponsor a prayer service.

Think about the illogic of appealing to a “higher power” for rain! If there were an omnipotent deity who could end Georgia’s drought by sheer magical power, why has this deity permitted the drought in the first place? If this deity is omniscient, as believers also claim, then this sadistic god certainly doesn’t need you to assemble various clergy and preachers to imprecate to the skies over the lack of rain.

It is simply human ego and superstition to imagine that assembled wishful thinking can affect the natural laws of the universe. Any effect a prayer service might have on the weather would be one of pure chance. We have a saying around our office: Nothing fails like prayer. As Mark Twain sagely noted: You’d better check the weather forecast before you pray for rain.

Logic aside, the critical issue is that it is a gross violation of our treasured constitutional principle of the separation between church and state for any elected official to hold a public prayer service, or to enjoin citizens to pray at all. Prayer is something that Thomas Jefferson as president pointed out was beyond the purview of elected officials. You hold civil powers alone. You have a history of making prayer proclamations. It is time to quit confusing the office of governor with that of “state preacher.”


Annie Laurie Gaylor

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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