Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Day of Posturing Pointlessness

The Obama administration has genuflected to the religious right by legally defending the The National Day of Prayer, the leading national observance promoting conversations with characters from ancient fables. Under the terms of this abortion of common sense, presidents emerge from their burrows and "issue proclamations asking Americans to pray," and it is said that if the proclamation casts a shadow on the consititution, it portends either more than six, less than six, or exactly six more weeks of winter.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Obama would issue such a proclamation Thursday but not hold any public events with religious leaders as President George W. Bush did.
No public events with preachers, imams, gurus, self-styled prophets, temple busybodies, holy rollers, cult leaders, or snake handlers -- so Obama has placed his administration a solid baby step this side of his predecessor.

Presidents have no business making statements about prayer, either for or against. If Obama seems to mean it, he will betray a profound misunderstanding of the nature of his office. If he doesn't seem to mean it, he will reveal himself to be posturing in an especially despicable way. It's not even cloying; it's needless and degrading.

When asked to pray, we should politely accept or decline. When the president asks us to pray, the request is out of place and politeness is not called for.

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