An Atheist public policy group denounced Sunday's "Day of Prayer" by Southern governors as a political stunt which is exploiting an environmental tragedy in order to win votes and promote religion and as, incidentally, a clear violation of Christian biblical principles.
"At best, this is a bronze age response to disaster," declared Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists. "This is just another example of how some political leaders use religion to win votes, garner public sympathy, and lead people to believe that superstition trumps the need for good planning and responsible public policy. These governors are plainly hypocrites as defined, allegedly in words from Jesus, in Matthew 6:5-6."
The Governors of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, along with the lieutenant Governor of Florida, all issued proclamations declaring Sunday, June 27, 2010, a Day of Prayer and urged citizens to engage in religious ritual in hopes of finding a solution to the growing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
"This is about as deep as you can get when it comes to promoting irrationality and faith-based superstition," added Dr. Buckner. "We have another example of public officials telling citizens when and how to pray, whether to pray, and what to pray for."
Dave Silverman, Vice President and Communications Director for American Atheists, said that prayer is never a suitable substitute for sound public policy, environmental safeguards, and sensible planning for catastrophic emergencies.
"I doubt that Jesus or some angel is suddenly going to descend from the sky with millions of feet of boom, or more barges to suck up the leaking oil," said Mr. Silverman. "If prayer really worked, why is it that so far, anyway, God seems to be ignoring the suffering all along the gulf?"
Dr. Buckner added, "Perhaps the politicians need to get up off their knees and spend more time mobilizing the resources to deal with this catastrophe. That should not include offering false hope or ridiculous suggestions for the people being affected by this event.”
Personally, while I certainly am in complete agreement with this denunciation of a backward and utterly unconstitutional thing, I am even more concerned and disgusted that it's even necessary. Honestly, these days, I find myself wondering with increasing trepidation, how the extremism building in the US can possibly be reconciled without massive violence, or at the very least, massive upheaval. It's not a pretty thought, but with the right/religious right so far over the sanity line, and the very real threats to our environment, our food supply, our health, our society- I just can't see it ending well.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC.
American Atheists, Inc. PO BOX 158, Cranford, NJ 07016
Tel.: (908) 276-7300 Fax: (908) 276-7402
For more information, please contact:
Ed Buckner, President 908-499-9200 (cell) or 770-803-5353 (office/fax)
Dave Silverman, Communications Director 732-648-9333