The Unconstitutionality of the National Day of Prayer

@Latrivia (2889)
United States
May 6, 2007 4:43am CST
Even though I am not a religious person, I believe fully in a person's right to practice whatever religion they wish. I'm not offended by the practice of religion, of hey, if a person wants to pray, then go right ahead; you're not stepping on my toes by praying. However, there is a line that should not be crossed when it comes to religion, and that line is drawn in the first amendment with this clause: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free excercise thereof..." Wanna pray? That's cool, do it wherever and whenever you want. However, this is America, and you do not need a governmentally endorsed day to pray to whatever God or philosophical force you worship. Somehow, though, good ol' Harry S. Truman thought is was necessary to sign a specific day of prayer into a law for the United States back in 1952. It's not enough that you can drop down to your knees and pray to (insert deity here) any time you want...somehow the U.S needed an actual government endorsed day of prayer. The problem is, the government isn't supposed to make laws concerning religion, period. It should neither restrict nor endorse any religion or religions. Yet despite this rule that was set by our American forefathers in 1787, America had to go and make a law respecting the establishment of several religions...and somehow this has gone unchanged for over 50 years. If U.S. citizens want to pray, then they have every right to do it whenever and wherever they want - this is guaranteed by the first amendment. So why is the government violating this same amendment by signing into law a national day of prayer?
1 person likes this
4 responses
@xfahctor (14126)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 May 07
It is a very loose argument to say the least. This day neither endorses a religion or prohibits the free exercise therof. This is probably the most over-interpreted artical in the constitution. It has been used for everything from removing vativities from libray lawns to renaming school christmas plays to "holliday" plays. Quite frankly, people need to find something a bit more signifigant to quip about.
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
8 May 07
How is a "Day of Prayer" "respecting an establishment of religion". Prayer isn't a tenet of any specific religion. Even blowing out the candles of a birthday cake is a kind of "prayer". Now, if there were some kind of set prayer, or if we all were required to pray on the day, I'd be right with you, but I don't see the Constitutional crisis here.
1 person likes this
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
10 May 07
Basically, the way I see it, it's respecting the establishment of multiple religions, but does not include religions that don't pray. I suppose it depends on how you interepret the first amendment. I place more weight on "respecting", and interpret it to mean something along the lines that if you're going to make a law about a religion or religions, you should either include them all, or don't make the law. In other words, if your going to make a special day for religions that pray, why not make a special day for religions that don't. Currently, the only day like this is the National Day of Reason, but unlike the National Day of Prayer, it's not government endorsed. It's not the biggest issue I could've chosen to question, but I know a flamewar would have ensued had I pointed out the unconstitutionality of Christmas and Easter. That and, the National Day of Prayer is upon us, so I felt like pointing out my views. I honestly don't care if the day exists, I just think that the government shouldn't endorse it, or, if they do, they should endorse a similar day for religions which don't pray.
1 person likes this
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
7 May 07
I don't think that having a National Day of Prayer is endorcing a Religion. It would be like saying the US is racist because it has a National Black History Day or nation Black Pride Day.
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
8 May 07
It's not endorsing any specific religion, but it is - how shall I put this - 'respecting' religions by making a law to create a specific date of religious prayer. Most people don't get the connection, but I don't blame them. It's not a huge deal, but it's the principle of the matter that concerns me. That, and the fact that the government violated the first amendment by making this into a government endorsed day of prayer are reasons to make sure to point out that this day should not exist as it does.
1 person likes this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
6 May 07
I never thought of this before. I think of this "National Day of Prayer" as more of a cosmetic type thing, if that makes sense. Like a here we are, aren't we great Americans? We have a DAY devoted to prayer. Big yippee as far as I'm concerned, I am not religious anyway, but I can't see why this day would make a difference to anyone who does worship. Now that I'm thinking about this I wonder how much it cost the tax payers to get this thing passed, even if it was 50 years ago. It could almost be looked at as another way of the government squandering our money for something silly. Thanks for giving me something to think about this morning!
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
11 May 07
Thnaks for the best response!