An Inclusive Litany

9/13/01

A press release from the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin, September 13, 2001:
Representing our national membership of freethinkers, as well as the 18.5% of U.S. citizens who are not religious, we join in the national mourning over the events on September 11, a horrible and senseless human tragedy.

However, Bush's proclamation of Friday, September 14 as a "National Day of Prayer and Remembrance" shows the pitfalls of the "God is on our side" mentality, and the dangers of religious patriotism.

While it may be natural for religious persons to turn to religion or prayer for solace, it is not the role of the President of the United States, or his spokespersons, to urge citizens to pray, to go to church, to turn to faith, or to observe a National Day of Prayer with worship.

In fact, it appears that the terrorist disasters of September 11 may well have been the ultimate "faith-based initiative." These terrorists apparently expected to find a reward "in heaven" and were bent on starting a "holy war" with our nation....

Prayer had its chance on September 11, and it failed. Imagine the unanswered prayers of hundreds or thousands of the victims of these terrorists. Official prayer will not solve any problems.

[Ed.: After the Wisconsin state legislature passed a law in September allowing school children to say the pledge of allegiance or have the national anthem played daily, the Madison School Board adopted a policy banning recitation of the pledge because of its reference to "one nation under God," opting instead for an instrumental version of the national anthem. That policy was later overturned amid a storm of protest.]

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