The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics
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Hello everyone, Dave here again! Today we set up our “Ask an Atheist” table at Speakers’ Circle on the Mizzou campus, in order to spread the word about the unconstitutional “National Day of Prayer” and the constitutional alternative promoted by the American Humanist Association and endorsed by SASHA, the “National Day of Reason.”
Here is a lovely photo of muSASHA.org blogger & Mizzou philosophy grad student Seth Kurtenbach (left, with coffee & bow-tie) with SASHA President James Pflug (with trash-bag “blanket” – hey, it was cold!):
We also passed out fliers saying this:
Today is the first Thursday of May, and President Obama, following tradition (but not the Constitution), has declared May 5th the 2011 “National Day of Prayer.”
In 1952, as a signal of opposition to the so-called “godless” Communists, Congress willfully ignored the principle of separation of church & state by enacting a law asking people “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” For the same reason, “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 and “In God We Trust” was adopted as the motto of the United States in 1956. This motto was placed on our paper currency in 1957.
Putting aside for the moment that this declaration willfully transgresses upon the (non-) beliefs of the roughly 60 million non-theist American citizens, it is also unconstitutional, according to a ruling by federal judge Barbara B. Crabb on April 15, 2010.
The “Establishment” clause of Amendment 1 in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” This has been interpreted to mean that the federal government cannot endorse any religion or irreligion. It must remain neutral. In the words of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, “…the First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion…” By having a government-sponsored national day of prayer, religion is endorsed over nonreligion. This is a direct violation of the First Amendment.
We at Mizzou SASHA (University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics) oppose our government’s promotion of a “National Day of Prayer,” and join the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation in endorsing & promoting a constitutional alternative, the “National Day of Reason.”
For more information, please visit the official National Day of Reason website at
http://www.nationaldayofreason.org and sign their petition (click the “Endorse” tab)
Join our group on Facebook by searching by “MU SASHA”
Read our official blog, updated daily at http://www.muSASHA.org
MU SASHA meets every Tuesday from 6-7 PM in Ellis Auditorium, through the west entrance of Ellis Library. Our meetings are open to students, faculty, and staff of any religion/faith, or lack thereof, and we encourage people of all backgrounds to attend, participate, and ask questions!
It rained off & on today, and by the afternoon, it got steady enough that we decided to pack up the table. We had a few good conversations with people and I’m glad we were out there, but if it weren’t for the significance of today, we probably would have waited until tomorrow, considering the weather report calls for lots of sunshine. Perhaps we’ll set up tomorrow, as well!
We are also working on some fun stuff for next year. We want to have more events than just our annual debate. A question to our readers: What sorts of events would interest you? Would you like to see an interfaith Q&A panel discussion with audience questions? Guest speakers on topics like, for example, gay rights & religion; reproductive rights/pro-life vs. pro-choice; women’s rights; separation of church & state (intelligent design, prayer in schools, etc)? We are in a position to host interesting events, but we need to know what you would like to see. Personally, I would be very interested in co-sponsoring an event having to do with LGBTQ issues & the effects of religion with one of the LGBTQ groups on campus. I would also be very interested in hosting an event about charity & international aid, how students can be effective philanthropists even if they don’t have a lot of money to donate, myths vs. facts about international aid, etc. Who would you like to see? What would you like them to talk about? If we do more panel discussions, what sorts of topics would you like us to discuss, and who would you suggest for the panels? Your ideas are welcome; we are here to serve you!