Pray Tell, Mr. President

Thank goodness our president is around to inform us about important parts of our country’s history, like how it’s “a nation of prayer.”

"America is a nation of prayer. It's impossible to tell the story of our nation without telling the story of people who pray," Bush said during a White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer. "At decisive moments in our history and in quiet times around family tables, we are a people humbled and strengthened and blessed by prayer."
Seriously, barf. Not just because he prays, but because he considers prayer step one in combating hurricanes, for example.

Bowing his head many times as Christian and Jewish leaders offered prayers, the president thanked those who pray for him, calling it the greatest gift a citizen can offer him.

"In my travels across the great land, a comment that I hear often from our fellow citizens is, `Mr. President, I pray for you and your family.' It's amazing how many times a total stranger walks up and says that to me," Bush said. "You'd think they'd say, ‘How about the bridge?’ Or, ‘How about filling the potholes?’ No, they say, ‘I've come to tell you I pray for you, Mr. President’."
Fucking hell. Where to begin. Okay, first of all, it tells you everything you need to know about this president that he considers prayer “the greatest gift a citizen can offer him,” and the sharp critique of his policies by a comedian something to get pissed off about.

Secondly, call me crazy, but with a 68% disapproval rating, I’m sure there are a lot of people who are praying that Bush leaves his office ASAP. I’m also quite certain there are plenty of people who would say, “How about the bridge?” or “How about filling the potholes?” or “How about that war in Iraq?” or “How about not secretly wiretapping Americans?” or “Where’s Osama bin Laden?” were they given the opportunity to get within earshot of him.

And even though pretending people never question him, choosing instead to simply offer prayers in return for what a bang-up job he’s doing, makes a nice sound bite, it’s kind of unbelievable he doesn’t remember the mother of a dead soldier camping outside his mansion in Crawford for a month last summer, trying to get some answers and accountability of him, or a student asking him who the hell is monitoring independent contractors in Iraq less than a month ago, just for a start.

Bush was careful to also honor those who choose not to pray, or join any religion.

"We are a people united by our love for freedom, even when we differ in our personal beliefs," the president said. "In America, we are free to profess any faith we choose, or no faith at all."
Well, I’ve got no faith in you, that much is for certain—particularly the trifling lipservice you give to atheists on the day our White House is celebrating the National Day of Prayer. It isn't just that this president is effusively religious; it's that he wields it in such a way that even religious people find objectionable.

Taking a page out of the conservative handbook, who like to do things like celebrate the Day of Truth immediately after the Day of Silence, I’m declaring tomorrow National Day of Reason. And, much like every other day, I imagine the White House will decline to participate.

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