Worried About Christian Nationalism? End the National Prayer Breakfast

National Prayer Breakfast

The National Prayer Breakfast has been a slap in the face to secular Americans throughout its history. It is one of far too many things that should never occur in a nation that values the separation of church and state. I know I'm repeating myself, but it needs to be said again until it changes. Christianity is not supposed to get a pass when it comes to the separation of church and state. That is Christian privilege, and it needs to end.

Many of us have criticized this yearly spectacle, highlighting the devious intentions of those behind it. We tire of seeing our elected officials use their offices to promote their religious beliefs. We recognize that this makes it harder to solve our ongoing problem with Christian nationalism. Now it seems that someone has been listening.

According to Religion News Service:

The National Prayer Breakfast is under new management, distancing the decades-old event from the secretive organization that founded it after years of controversy and a scandal that showed the yearly gathering in the nation’s capital is vulnerable to espionage.

This sounds promising. An event like this should not happen at all. It is a blatant government endorsement of religion. That said, separating it from the anti-democratic Christian extremist group who has been behind is a small step in the right direction. It would be great to think that Christian nationalism was becoming unfashionable! It also sounds like the event has been scaled back a bit.

Should we prepare to celebrate? Not so fast, says the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

“We’re, of course, pleased that pressure by FFRF, journalists and a coalition of groups has discredited The Fellowship to the point where it became a liability as host of this event,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. But the separation between The Fellowship and this new version of the prayer breakfast appears to be a subterfuge, Gaylor adds, with members of Congress who are connected with The Fellowship running the new group.

My concern is less about how involved this group is, although I agree that they shouldn't be involved. I am most concerned with the fact that the whole event shouldn't be happening. We should not tolerate government promotion of religion.

Gaylor says that FFRF’s basic concern remains: This is still an event involving the most powerful U.S. public officials endorsing religion.

Yes, that's it. That is the problem. It is great to see her speaking out about this. She hasn't had enough company. The reason she's opposed to this event needs far more media coverage than it gets.

What do you suppose would happen if a similar event but with Islam instead of Christianity was held every year? Would those who don't see a problem with the current version feel any different about that one? Neither one should be happening, and that's the point.

Image by author via NightCafe