Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Day of Public Blasphemy and Gluttony? I'm all for it!

From an e-mail forwarded to me by my friend Erin, undersigned by one Roger Smith [and appearing here in slightly abridged form]:

"While our gaze is fixed on events in Iraq, I thought you should know that your elected representatives have been carefully attending to the commonweal. To wit, they have bravely gone on record and overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 153 [read it here]. This extraordinary bill calls on our president to designate a day of prayer and fasting. The text contains a level of religiosity that one might have thought forbidden by the First Amendment:

" 'Whereas, through prayer, fasting, and self-reflection, we may better recognize our own faults and shortcomings and submit to the wisdom and love of God in order that we may have guidance and strength in those daily actions and decisions we must take;'

"That such a bill could pass the House 346 to 49 is shocking. Not one Republican voted against it. While 48 brave Democrats did vote nay, 23 less sturdy Dems voted 'present.' You will see that the text of the resolution cites vaguely similar proclamations during the U.S. revolutionary and civil wars. But somehow we were able to defeat the combined forces of the Axis (the real one) in WW II without the entire country begging God's guidance.

"I am told by a congressionally well-connected friend that Nancy Pelosi recognized that the bill was an abomination, but decided not to put the Democrats on record as opposing it. I guess the 125 Democrats who voted 'yea' felt that the political heat from a 'nay' vote wasn't worth the trouble--and they are probably right in the narrowest sense. But the country is in the growing grip of a Christian fundamentalism, lightly disguised as 'non-sectarian.' It is perhaps the most frightening trend of all, although it has numerous competitors for that honor.

"I don't know what we can do about this, but I personally plan to make some form of protest when Bush gets around to designating the actual Day of Prayer and Fasting. Organizing a Day of Public Blasphemy and Gluttony seems about right. Meantime, you all might pass this message on to your fellow secularists. It is good to know that the Congress, while feckless and increasingly irrelevant, still has found the time to do serious damage to the Constitution."

Here is a list of the cosponsors of the bill.