One of these things is not like the other…
Justin Vacula over at the Scranton Atheism Examiner noted today that with all the problems in Pennsylvania, the PA House of Representatives is considering another State/Religion bill:
Not to be confused with the recent “Year of the Bible” resolution that had unanimously been passed by the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania, a new resolution, House Resolution No. 609, seeks to recognize May 3 as the “National Day of Prayer” in Pennsylvania. It is not yet clear when this resolution will be voted on, but this resolution was introduced yesterday on March 12.
Among other words in House Resolution No. 609, the resolution states that the “National Day of Prayer” “is a day set aside to pray for this nation,” “belongs to all citizens,” “was not created for political reasons or to promote any other agenda except prayer” and “is a day to ask for healing, to heal this nation and to bring people together in true unity.”
Of course, it was created exactly for political reasons to promote a religious agenda and to suggest that the non-religious are “lesser” citizens in the eyes of the Commonwealth. It is important to remember that even the National Day of Prayer has been deemed unconstitutional. Vacula writes:
In 2010, the National Day of Prayer, at a federal level, had been deemed unconstitutional — although the ruling was later overturned in 2011 due to a lack of standing — by senior Federal Judge Barbara Crabb as a result of a legal victory by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). Judge Crabb, in her decision, noted that “the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience” and “The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy.”
It is time to write your representative to speak out against this bill. Unfortunately, I doubt it will do much good. Politicians are all to happy to ignore the First Amendment and wear their religion on their sleeves.
*** Update: Like the Year of the Bible, it was “INTRODUCED AS NONCONTROVERSIAL RESOLUTION UNDER RULE 35, MARCH 12, 2012 ” by Rep. Saccone (and others), so it won’t even be debated on the floor.