Virtual Voices

Why the atheist ought to encourage prayer

Religion

It's a sign of how free professional atheists are to practice their non-belief that they consider Christians gathering in a football stadium the next step before the imposition of evangelical Sharia law. Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for the gathering, a "day of prayer and fasting" in the face of national crises, and he's invited other governors to join him. Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition of America, claims this violates "the separation of church and state," which he further labels one of the "basic founding principles" of this country.

The notion that the Establishment Clause ("Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion . . .") prohibits elected local officials from freely gathering on government-owned property to pray would likely be a great surprise to the men who wrote it, but that's not Faircloth's concern. Nor does he care that the clause's intentionally crafted neighbor, the Free Exercise Clause (". . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof") makes clear the founding principle that the Creator endows governors and presidents and schoolchildren with the right to pray to Him.

Faircloth's aim is to advance the fabrication that the U.S. Constitution restricts any interaction with or mention of God in any public forum. For example, it's no accident that two-thirds of Americans think it's illegal for a public school teacher to use the Bible to teach literature.

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We've seen a decades-long effort to make something fundamental to the existence of man-communion with and open conversation about his Creator-appear to be beyond the pale. But when viewed within the long stretch of human history, this militant secularism is what's abnormal. Man has always carried the dream of God, the vision of God. Whether he sees God beneath a tree stump or within the Torah, man sees God. The notion that we can craft humanity such that he has no stirring toward divinity is probably the most faith-based of all endeavors, a misplaced faith in the capacity of human rationality to do the equivalent of asking the eyeball to hear.

Professionally aggrieved atheists need to understand the great peril in which they place their outsized love for modern, wealthy, safe, secularized society. People always have been and always will be seeking after God. Thankfully we live in a society where this is largely expressed through relatively peaceful faith in some form or another of monotheism. Strike God from the map and you won't end up with a polite dinner party of well-behaved rationalists. You'll end up with cannibals in the hills.

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