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NDOP Protest recap

May 9, 2006

Well the National Day of Prayer picket we just had went very well. We didn't get quite the turnout that we got last year, but those who did show up had a great time.

We had nine people, which is down from last year's roughly 18. Now the up side of that is that, apparently we outnumbered the Christians! A couple of passers by said that there was a small group inside the Capitol building praying and making some music, but when we sent our own Chuck Clark in to recon the situation, he emerged saying that he couldn't find any NDOP anything! He asked around inside, and someone pointed at the third floor, but when Chuck went up there, once again he couldn't find any NDOP event. It seems that they either wrapped up their prayer event early, or had it away from the Capitol. Either way, it actually felt good to picket a non-event, this time.

We passed out all of our fliers, and several pamphlets, and got several thumbs-up and positive honking of horns in support of our cause. One notable passer-by was a jogger who voiced her support loudly. We realized right away that she did the same thing at last year's NDOP picket. Talk about having a good memory, and talk about a popular location for free speech.

We only had a few negative reactions, as is usual. One lady walked by with her family and had several negative things to say to us, but had laryngitis, and couldn't really be heard, even just a few feet away. We just figured that her god was on his lunch break too, otherwise he would've helped her get her message across.

One jogger was quite annoyed with us. He first asked if we were aware that the rest of America was unconcerned about the event, implying that we were stupid to be there. We said the Constitution was on our side, so we weren't concerned about that. The conversation slowly got a little more testy and he ended up giving us some threats of hell and all that. He asked if we had faith. We said "no". Before he ran off, he was trying to make the point that Easter exists, therefore it's important to pray or something like that. (He was trying to make a point about Jesus dying for our sins and all that crap, but he was trying to be subtle about it.)

Later, a woman talked to me as she entered the gate of the Captiol. She said several times "You're wrong". I asked if the Constitution was wrong. She replied that the Constitution doesn't mention any separation between church and state. I replied that the NDP event was an establishment of religion. She repeated "you're wrong" and walked off.

We had a young couple come by who I think were visiting the Capitol for other reasons. They came out asking why nobody was suing the government for such obvious violation of the constituion. Exactly!!! They hung around and chatted for a while and toyed with joining our protest.

Near the end of the hour, Thomas Van Orden wandered by and chatted with Chuck. He thanked us for our help with his 10C case. I didn't realize who it was until he left. I was bummed. I wanted to shake his hand. He's a definite hero to the cause of church state separation.

We got some good video and still photos, see the scrapbook entry for the event and watch for an article in the June 2006 Atheist Community News.

We're debating on how or even whether to do this again next year. It's entirely possible that the NDOP event next year may also be so hard to find, that it won't warrant a picket. We'll have to see.

Many thanks to Joe Zamecki and Chuck Clark for organizing the event.

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