Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.
You might not know it, but for several years now President Arroyo’s government has been abusing the duly constitutional clause of Separation of Church and State, not only by having a recent special non-working holiday, a National Day of Mourning for the late Eraño Manalo of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), and the upcoming special non-working holiday for the end of the Ramadan period for the Muslims, but also by mandating an official, state-sponsored National Day of Prayer for our country.
According to the government website, the Proclamation #1869 is a regular working day devoted to prayer for peace and sanctification of spiritual leaders that will happen this Saturday, September 12.
I support the idea that individuals have the right to pray for whomever they want and in whatever manner they like, as long as the rights of others are not infringed, but it is not the business of the government to direct or encourage any religious practice, like when and how to pray. On theological matters the government should be neutral, and not seek to patronize, favor, or further any faith. Because the freedom of religion also includes freedom from religion.
In response to this, a more inclusive and practical holiday should be held – a National Day of Reason to be synchronized with the National Day of Prayer. Instead of collective wishful thinking, all rational citizens should celebrate and promote reason, democracy, human rights, and at same time raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.
National Day of Reason also exists as a flagship of reason and rationality on the web, and our additional voice to the chorus of a progressive and secular society.