Today is the National Day of Prayer (NDP). Not surprisingly, this is not Americans United’s favorite event. The government should never be involved in telling people when, how or whether to pray.
Although the NDP is technically privately sponsored, a federal law fixes the date as the first Thursday in May and requires the president to issue a proclamation recognizing the day. Local, state and federal officeholders often attend events rife with “civil religion.” In some communities, aggressive Christian Nationalist organizations sponsor NDP events, exclude non-Christian groups and use the NDP to spread false history about how the United States was supposedly founded to be a Christian nation.
National Day Of Prayer Is Cold War-Era Relic
The National Day of Prayer is yet another relic from the 1950s, a time when our government employed the syntax and symbols of religion (always generic forms of Christianity) to rally Americans against the officially atheistic Soviet Union, our archenemy. This same surge of Christian Nationalism also brought us “In God We Trust” as the national motto and the words “Under God” added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Soviet Union is long gone, and growing numbers of Americans are stepping away from organized religion. The NDP never made much sense for America, and it’s only becoming more anachronistic as the nation changes.
Sign The Pledge & Recommit To Church-State Separation
As we face a resurgent Christian Nationalism today, it’s more important than ever that we keep church and state separate to protect religious freedom and the many other rights and freedoms that depend on this fundamental American principle. One simple way you can participate in a national recommitment to the separation of church and state is by signing our pledge today.
If you haven’t already heard AU President and CEO Rachel Laser’s announcement at the Summit for Religious Freedom (SRF), AU is planning something big this year to grow our movement, rally our allies, and redouble our efforts in the fight to keep church and state separate.
So, on this National Day of Prayer, push back against Christian Nationalism: Join our movement and sign the pledge now, then share with three friends to keep our community growing!
P.S. Just to be clear, if you are a religious person, pray today if you want to or feel the need. But do it because that’s what’s in your heart – not because the government said you should.