In a wonderful display of why we need to get religious nuttiness away from the halls of gummint, Governor of Rick Perry of Texas ranted thus yesterday in an executive proclamation that’s just in time for Earth Day:
WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.
as a state ... been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer?
This proclamation seems as clear a violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment as I’ve seen in a while.
One might say that it does no harm. One might say that he makes it clear that it’s not just Rick Perry’s prayer, not just Christian prayer... that Governor Perry explicitly calls on
all faiths and traditions.
The problem is that he still shoves some sort of faith in prayer into the faces of many, many people who consider prayer to be so much bullshit. This is totally inappropriate — just as inappropriate as if he’d said we should pray to Jesus, we should beseech Allah, or we should ask for the intercession of the spirit of Elvis.
It’s fine if Mr Perry thinks putting his hands together and muttering will do some good in relieving the drought. It’s fine if he wants to get his friends to join him in it. It’s even fine if he says so on statewide television when some talk-show host interviews him.
It’s not fine when it becomes an official proclamation. That’s crossing a line.
But here: I intend to draw an outline of Texas in the dirt in my garden today, and bury a ceremonial dried bluebonnet blossom in the approximate position of Austin therein. I will say
Light-beam feelie! three times while holding my hand over the buried bluebonnet, and I am certain that within the month, it will have worked its magic and Texas will have had much-needed rain.
I know this to be the true answer, and far more effective than that prayer stuff. See if it isn’t!