Posted by: sponyak | May 5, 2009

An Open Letter to President Obama Concerning the National Day of Prayer (and the National Day of Reason)

Please feel free to copy, edit, and send this letter to President Barack Obama (HERE).


Dear Mr. President,

On Thursday, May 7th, 2009, the United States of America will hold its 58th annual observance of  “The National Day of Prayer”.

With all due respect for the constitutional right to Freedom of Religion, We (all non-religious and religious Americans who value the separation of Church and State) believe that the National Day of Prayer, as it now stands, is unconstitutional. We hold this view on the basis of exactly what the National Day of Prayer is… a government-ordained, government-sanctioned holiday which is designed solely for the outwardly theistic segment (however large) of American society. In our view, the National Day of Prayer unjustly promotes theism over non-theism.

Mr. President,

We, the Freethinkers of America, graciously thank you for mentioning “nonbelievers” in your Inaugural Address. For many of us, that was the first time in our lives that we ever felt connected to the Office of the President of the United States. It felt very good to be properly represented as “true Americans” along with all the adherents of traditional religions.

According to a recent survey conducted by Trinity College in Hartford, CT, the percentage of Americans who claim to have “no religion” now hovers at around 15%… there are many indications that this percentage will continue to rise in the coming years.

Mr. President, on behalf of all the Freethinkers of America, we ask you to at least give us an equal share in the legacy of our Founding Fathers. Some of our Founding Fathers have been falsely portrayed as devoted, unquestioning Christians… history often dictates otherwise (we cite as but one example the Jefferson Bible).

To what extent does “Freedom of Religion” mean “Freedom from Religion”? As applied to the public sphere in general, most Freethinkers would agree that the two terms are not synonymous. But when applied to the actions of the U.S. (or State and local) Government- and how those actions affect all Americans- the U.S. Constitution implies that the two terms can be construed as one in the same.

With the greatest respect, Mr. President, we ask you to take notice of another event that coincides with the National Day of Prayer; the Freethinkers of America call it the National Day of Reason. The purpose of the National Day of Reason is to promote reason, science, logic, critical thinking, and positive action as means to achieve positive results, as opposed to relying on prayer to affect positive outcomes. The National Day of Reason will be celebrated on Thursday, May 7th, 2009, the same day as the National Day of Prayer.

Without the concurrence of the National Day of Reason, the National Day of Prayer will continue to be exactly what it is- a government sponsorship of religion. Unfortunately, that is something which our Founding Fathers were vehemently opposed to.

In summation, we are merely asking you to consider the contents of this letter.

Congratulations and best wishes, Mr. President… and “Godspeed”!!!


Mark Tiborsky

The Cleveland Freethinkers



  1. Why attack only the National Day of Prayer? You should ask him to abolish every government holiday that started with a religion: Christmas, Easter, and Reverend Martin Luthor King Jr Dr (he was a Christian after all). You may want to make sure any day we worship an idol is abolished also because it may offend someone, so there goes presidents day, mothers day, fathers day and memorial day… that should be a good start.

    In fact we should get rid of all government sanctioned Holy days, better known as holidays, because the name comes from a religious term. In fact you won’t be happy until you push all religious people into a closet and lock the door. Maybe you should get the government to force all Christian churches to remove visible crosses from the out side of their churches because it offends you.

    The truth is, that wither there is a National Day of Prayer or not does not matter. Jesus Christ is still Lord and Christians will still pray for you and your family. Remember the more you try to get rid of Christianity the more you prove the Bible true.

  2. My oh my… overreacting a bit, mcoville?

    We’re not asking for the National Day of Prayer to be abolished, we’re asking for the National Day of Reason to be recognized concurrently.

    FYI, Christmas and Easter were secularized long ago (hence Santa Claus, Xmas trees, candy canes, elves, the Easter Bunny, Easter egg hunts, etc.).

    We appreciate your opinions though.

  3. For your knowledge, mcoville, the National Day of Prayer is not a sign of Christianity. Rather, a vestige of McCarthyism.
    Go pray as much as you want, just don’t expect everyone else to chime in.
    The more you cling on to it, the more you prove the gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster true.
    No matter what you think, our Noodly Goodness is still lord and savior.

  4. Both Easter and Christmas are actually pagan holidays that were assigned Christian meaning when the Roman Empire converted to Christianity so that the people would be more willing to accept the new religion.

    The word “Easter” comes from “Eostre” who was a pagan fertility goddess who’s symbols were an egg and a bunny.

    Similarly, Christmas is an adaptation of the pagan light festival known as “Yule”.

    Pretty much every culture in existence has it’s own version festivals for solstices and equinoxes because they were dividing points for the seasons and time markers in the Sun cycle. Christian mythology was added later to convince pagans to convert.

    So while our gov’t may call these holidays “Easter” or “Christmas” they are really just representational of international seasonal celebrations.

    And the idea that Presidents day is idol worship is a bit absurd. We are celebrating accomplishments, not worshiping people.

  5. The Christians are the most paranoid group in existence. They have no trouble forcing non- christians into following their rituals, but at the first sign of resistance they claim persecution. In fact no one is denying their right to pray. We only want them to keep their prayers out of public meetings or government functions. They claim allegiance to the Bible but the the bible teaches that prayers be private. They have usurped most pagan holidays and complain when the pagan origins are reinstated.

  6. Don’t get your panties in a bunch Darwinists, my post was sarcastic. There is no way I can take the original post seriously. Did any of you recognize the “slippery slope” argument?

    Seriously though, it is ridiculous to say that a government holiday sanctions anything. The government is not saying you have to pray or else you go to jail. This is a holiday that allows like minded people to do something jointly.

    If you feel this excludes a segment of the American people and that is why it should be eliminated then include Black History Month on your list of government sanctioned holidays that excludes people.

  7. You are just ridiculous, mcoville. You are not good at sarcasm, though, if your posts are any guide, you are not good at anything.
    You are accusing us of trying to remove all visible crosses from churches. I don’t see sarcasm in your accusations, I see hostility.
    And if there is nothing to be forced on others, then what’s wrong with calling it the Day of Prayer/the Day of Reason? You won’t go to jail if you choose to be unreasonable on that day, like you are all the time.
    Like minded people can get together and pray any time they want. If that is why then the day should be abolished, since you are claiming you don’t need to government to endorse your action.
    Oh, and difference between black history and the day of prayer is that the black people were victims of slavery and discrimination for the longest time. That can’t be said for those who pray.

  8. When it is held in the White house or on the steps of the Capitol it is defacto sanctioned by the government.
    We are not talking about exclusion, but being unconstitutional!
    When sarcasm is close to fact it ceases to be sarcasm.

  9. mcoville,

    Black History month is something we can all take part in- learning any history is good (as long as it’s not revisionist history, which is very common among the religious right).

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