Keep prayer out of government

Both the national and state Day of Prayer are unjust violations of this country’s founding values.

Jasper Johnson

Earlier this month, Gov. Mark Dayton declared that May 5 will once again be the official state “Day of Prayer” in Minnesota. That date coincides with the national Day of Prayer. As I see it, these legal observances are unconstitutional, and they should come to an end. 
 
 
The government should not involve itself in the promotion of religious activities of any kind. The first amendment to Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” 
 
 
That should be the end of the conversation. Honestly, there are barely any solid points in favor of a day of prayer that I can find to rebut. Still, I’ll address three.
 
 
First, the “optional” nature of the Day of Prayer is irrelevant. Should I be thankful that the observance isn’t something forcibly imposed upon me? Optional or not, the state is still endorsing religion.
 
 
Second, although the day is supposedly promoting plurality and diversity through its vague support of “prayer” as opposed to any specific religion, it’s still endorsing religiosity over irreligiosity, which is blatantly unjust. Last year’s federal declaration of a day of prayer even referred specifically to a singular god, which excluded polytheistic religions. 
 
 
Finally, to claim that because the majority of people in the U.S. are religious, we therefore need a national day of prayer is straightforward tyranny of the masses.  
 
 
The government has no business declaring a day of prayer, and I would like to see Dayton or President Barack Obama step up, acknowledge the injustice of such a day and put a stop to it. 
 
 
Jasper Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected].