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2007 National Day of Reason Church-State Separation Rally
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2007 National Day of Reason Church-State Separation Rally, May 3, 2007
The National Day of Prayer happens every year on the first Thursday in May
and it spawns a large number of local prayer events around the country.
In Austin, it is a tradition to have a prayer event at the Texas State Capitol
The National Day of Prayer
event has been co-opted by conservative Christians
led by James and Shirly Dobson of Focus on the Family. Very few of the
"national" events are inclusive of all religions that pray. Elected
officials use the event to pander to conservative Christians. Of course,
government promotion or endorsement of any religion is a violation of the
establishment clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Church-state
separation is one of ACA's big issues.
The First Amendment also guarantees those who wish to pray
individually or in a group the right to do so. We also support this right.
All groups are given equal access to the Capitol for their events. We could
not find any violation of church-state separation at the Texas State Capitol
event even though the national event with which they participated
was clearly in violation. This left the ACA in something of a quandary.
We decided not to protest the local event and instead exercise our own
free speech rights in front of the Capitol around lunchtime. We were there in
support of the National Day of Reason and for church-state separation. We had
about 15 people participating including visitors from out of town and one
intrepid Christian who also values church-state separation. Right on!
It appears that the National Day of Prayer event has fallen out of favor a bit.
Maybe in the next few years, we'll have more people out with us drawing
attention to our great Constitution than who will participate in the
Christian prayer event.
This year's event was organized by Shelley Roberts, Chuck Clark, and
Joe Zamecki. Photos by Don Baker and Mike.
Joe Zamecki produced a nice flier about the event, which appears below.
Why the National Day of Prayer is just plain wrong.
If you'd like to know more, visit American
Atheists Texas and Atheist Community of Austin. Here's
a positive nationwide event for today
National Day of
- Today's National Day of Prayer event violates the Constitutional
principle of state/church separation by taking place on State Capitol
grounds, with elected government officials taking part, endorsing and
promoting religion. Government in America is supposed to be neutral on the
issue of religion, and the NDOP stands against this important fact. National,
state, city and county governments are involved all over America, and some
of the events planned are especially infringing.
- Of all of the cities in Texas, Austin has more cultural and religious
diversity and more of a vibrant history of active liberalism to be proud of.
Today's National Day of Prayer event negates that spirit of diversity in
every way possible. It implies that all Texans and very well all Americans
pray, and want others to pray as well. Well not all Americans or Texas pray,
and that's a simple fact that mature worshippers can understand and accept.
Having a group religious ceremony at the State Capitol Building is a slap
in the face to our proud American diversity.
- Prayer itself is insane. To promote the idea that you can change the
laws of nature, or solve humankind's deepest and most important problems
by appealing to an invisible friend is not only irresponsible, it's dangerous.
The terrorist attackers of 9/11 prayed intensively before attacking our
great nation. They prayed for strength, remember? Don't promote their
delusional activity in our beautiful country! Prayer is insane and dangerous.
Photos from the rally
Mike giving them both barrels at the rally.
Some of our gang visiting with a passer-by. The couple on the left
came all the way from Houston.
Joe Zamecki and Marla Repka.
Matt with a Christian who agreed with our church-state separaton issue
and who joined us for most of the event.
The whole gang.
Another shot including the capitol.
The actual National Day of Prayer event (in the "shark tank"). Note
the pentagram at the center of activity (just kidding).