Earlier today, I was watching a C-SPAN video of a U.S. Senate session on February 1, 2012. This was the first time I had ever watched a Senate session from the beginning and, to my surprise, they began with a prayer.
Hold up. A prayer? In a session of one of our government's highest legislative bodies?! I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, what with the (often crazy) Religious Right getting after the government with Bible-backed policies and all. It was nevertheless astonishing to see the institutionalization of religion in our government.
I generally like our government, but this changes everything. Man, I was angry. I felt betrayed and undermined - like I was worth nothing to anyone in D.C.
So I wrote to my senators:
I wish to ask for the Senator's thoughts on the opening prayer which begins a Senate session. I have done my research and see that this prayer has been a part of Senate procedure since 1789 and was recommended by Benjamin Franklin about two years previous, but I question its place in our secular government. It is, frankly, inappropriate that any governmental body in our United States of America be so closely tied to one religious creed in a nation with many hundreds and thousands of religious belief systems. I will not deny that religion is a part of politics - a belief in a certain religious creed often results in an election win - but it has absolutely no place in governance. It is insulting to think that any one religion is given special treatment in our governments.
I ask the Senator to introduce a bill which will put an end to this Senate Prayer, for, while Mr. Franklin may have been right in 1789, he is most certainly wrong now. We have moved past a blind reliance on God, and it is, now more than ever, a hindrance on our Great Government. God's interference in our government has forced limited civil rights for minorities, was a rationale for slavery, and is still fighting against a Woman's Right to Choose, a Citizen's Right To Marry Whomever He or She Wishes, Scientific Advancement in many fields and so on.
It is our imperative as citizens to think of each other first and to respect the different viewpoints and beliefs of our fellow Americans. Honoring any religion on our Senate floor is a betrayal of this principle, and it must be stopped.
If you care about religious freedom at all, I would urge you to do the same.