Oh dear! It’s ‘National Day of Prayer’ time again in the United States of America. The Holy Rollers will be out in their multitudes. There’s even a National Day of Prayer “task force”. It has its own logo. And, its own trademark. Well, actually the logo is the trademark, complete with a little TM.
If you’re one of the 20% or so of Americans who have no religious affiliation then you have reason to feel aggrieved. Aggrieved because religion has done so much damage to your country, and consequently to the world, that it’s hard to see how we’re ever going to recover from it.
Such hypocrisy is hardly worth wasting one’s time writing about more than once, so rather than pen another post on the subject, here’s one from Sparrow Chat, May 2nd 2006, when the NDP was on May 4th. This year it’s on May 5th.
If one is ‘foreign’ and lives in America, it’s easy to become heartily sick of the whole Christian movement. It’s a sad fact, because there are many genuine Christians in the country who have no desire to be linked with pseudo-political idealists posturing towards theocracy. But, for a nation that titles itself, “Land of the Free”, so-called ‘Christian faith’ is fast becoming more of a sickness than an asset. The disease is spread via false ministries utilizing media channels to perpetrate what they call the “God-given message’, when in reality it’s no more than a means of raking in vast fortunes from thousands of gullible individuals indoctrinated to believe they are buying a ticket to Heaven. Politicians are happy to cow-tow to these false, egocentric, ‘ministers’, utilizing them as opportunistic vote-reapers.
America’s hypocrisy is taken one step further by the upcoming “National Day of Prayer”, a government sponsored, annual event in early May, where plenty of money is to be made. This event is recognized by a Congressional Bill passed in 1952. The American people make much of their Constitution, yet blatantly ignore its content when it suits them.
“Separation of Church and State?” I believe I mentioned hypocrisy?
In 1813, American President James Madison proclaimed a day of prayer, but later decided such proclamations were not appropriate – “They seem to imply and certainly nourish the erroneous idea of a national religion,” he said.
Thomas Jefferson was also opposed to any Federal involvement in such things – “Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”
In 1999, the then governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, refused to proclaim the NDP in his state. His view: “There are people out there who are atheists, who don’t believe at all. They are all citizens of Minnesota, and I have to respect that.” Now, I have to say, he sounds like my kind of American. Unfortunately, there are few of them left – at least in high office [it’s rumored even Ventura eventually left the country!].
Every president since Truman has proclaimed a National Day of Prayer.
In 2002 George W Bush decreed that the two purposes of the NDP were: “…to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits…”
We’ve learned over the years how George W Bush is incapable of speaking anything other than bullshit, so when we read statements of that type it should come as no surprise. What is shocking, is the manner in which the American people ignore, condone, or downright applaud, such political hypocrisy that cuts right to the heart of their nation’s legal system.
The truth today is that religious diversity is not tolerated in many areas of American society. One example occurred during the NDP of 2003 when Pastor William Keller, president of the Delaware County Evangelistic Association, organized an exclusively ‘conservative Christian’ event in Munci, Indiana. His reason: “My people wouldn’t come to a meeting that is an inter-faith event.”
As to “the role of prayer in our society”, I would dearly love to see some concrete evidence of this role. Frankly, wherever American influence is to be found on this planet there appears only a sad lack of anything remotely connected with ‘God’ or prayer. Will I find it in Iraq, or Guantanamo Bay Detention Center? Will I find it in the heart of nuclear bombs that may soon to be used against a nation that dares to copy the nuclear ambitions of its intimidating adversary? Would I have found it at Hiroshima, or Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945? Should I look in the violence, horror, and sadism spawned by Hollywood, or the sick video games American parents buy their kids to practice on before shooting up their friends and schoolteachers?
“God Bless America” – I see the stickers everywhere. I find it hard to envisage any ‘God’ that would not turn away in sick disgust from the nation that has taken His name and turned it into a marketing tool, an excuse to kill and maim innocents, and a quick pathway to wealth and power over the backs of the poor and the needy.
On the subject of marketing tools, one thing never short in America is another idea to make money. The latest “Christian” money spinner is “Christian Yoga.” The Hindu religion, which of course pre-dates Christianity, is an anathema to many American Christians, and yoga as a spiritual exercise doesn’t sit well with them. Quite recently, the Catholic Pope Benedict XVI warned “that Yoga can turn into a cult of the body.” – whatever that means!
To overcome this aversion Christians have done what they’ve always done from their beginnings -they’ve simply stolen it. How they are doing so, is seen in a BBC video report. Personally, I get an overwhelming desire to smack the instructor, Susan Bordenkircher, in the mouth each time I view this video, especially at the point where she chides – with just the touch of a whine, “The only way we can hear God is if we’re quiet enough to li..st..en!” – but such a violent response may just be the result of living in American society for four years.
Of course, we should expect these obsessive Christians to steal from others. They are very adept at it. The virgin birth; the birth date of December 25th; the miracles with twelve disciples; the resurrection after three days – all have their roots in Mithraism, which in turn evolved out of Zoroastrian concepts. The ‘Trinity’ theme was common in so-called ‘pagan’ religions: Hinduism embraced the triune godhead of Brahma the god of creation, Vishnu the god of maintenance, and Siva the god of destruction. One of Egypt’s many trinities was Horus, Isis and Osiris. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – original in Christianity. Of course, Christian leaders don’t advertise those facts to their congregations.
The National Day of Prayer 2006 is scheduled for May 4th. For some years now, this annual event has been hijacked by the Dobson clan – James Dobson and wife, Shirley, of ‘Focus on the Family’ fame. His is a household name in America, where many regard him as a theological authority and moral leader. Few realize he has no religious qualifications whatever, though he does hold “….a doctorate in child behavior…” and “….was an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for fourteen years….” according to Wikipedia. One has to wonder how useful such qualifications rate when applying for the position of “most politically powerful Evangelical in America today.”
Given the man’s crass and very un-Christian opinions, which are well documented elsewhere, one has to wonder how he can steal the National Day of Prayer from under the noses of Americans, and turn it into an Evangelical Fundamentalist revival meeting – or rather, many thousands of them.
In case you’re wondering – I won’t be attending any.
 The BBC was unable to unearth the Susan Bordenkircher ‘Christian Yoga’ video, which in itself is probably a gift from God to spare Sparrow Chat readers the agony of watching it.
 “Janice Hahn Walks Out Of Event After James Dobson Calls Obama The ‘Abortion President’” Huffington Post, May 1st 2014