Tomorrow is an opportunity for America. It’s not an opportunity to discover new and exotic hangover cures for those of us who partook in the very American holiday called Cinco De Mayo, which is more like Cinco de Queso or Cinco de Tequila. Tomorrow is an opportunity for unity.
That’s because tomorrow isn’t a day. It’s a Day.
There are two distinct Days tomorrow. It is the National Day of Prayer. It is also the National Day of Reason. They aren’t mutually exclusive although I can guess that most of the coverage will make it seem so. The National Day of Prayer shouldn’t be a big deal for the religious, as they have the right to pray whenever they want. This is merely a public reminder, and I’m a big fan of reminders. I’d love the President to proclaim National Empty the Dishwasher Day, as an example.
The National Day of Reason sprung up as an alternative. It’s a reminder that while the majority of Americans worship some kind of deity, there are others who do not. While I like the sentiment, it does come off as a bit of a “participation trophy” so that people don’t feel left out.
The history: Harry Truman signed the bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer, back when news wasn’t mined for controversy. Recently a federal judge ruled that a National Day of Prayer, so deemed by a President, is unconstitutional. President Bush held a service in honor of this day although President Obama has not done so. The current administration was a defendant in the lawsuit, so don’t automatically paint the Prez as anti religion.
Should this day be divisive? I don’t think so. I think that people who would normally pray should continue to pray. They are free to pray for people who do not pray. Most of the time prayer is a form of wish fulfillment and the wish is usually a positive change in life. Who could be against that? Reason is something we use every day whether we consciously think of it or not. I used reason to determine that I’m picking up a pizza tonight instead of making dinner because my wife has a late flight and making dinner would be a hassle. I can also pray that there are no problems with her flight.
The fight to ensure that the separation of church and state continues to have legal backing is important. It allows for every kind of prayer tomorrow, and the absence of it. This in a nutshell is our country. As corny as it sounds, the name United States has a deeper meaning when it is comprised of a diverse populace. We should celebrate that every day of the year.