A bothersome trend I have noticed lately is people, evangelical atheists mostly, railing incessantly against prayer.
Interesting during times of tragedy when people of all stripes, even the not particularly religious, tend to come together through prayer and offer prayers as a comfort to victims, families, and communities, that the godless consider heartfelt prayers either meaningless platitudes that should be done away with, outright offensive, or both.
In times like these it’s important to know that prayer unites, it doesn’t divide, and it’s far from meaningless. Prayer also isn’t a partisan thing that is only offered by gun wielding conservatives, Christians, or Republicans. In fact, prayer has no denomination, no party agenda, and no political affiliation at all.
It’s also important to remind those who have turned their backs on God that American currency still has “In God We Trust” printed on it for a reason. Our nation’s history, after all, is deeply and undeniably rooted in a shared faith in a higher power and recognition of our human limitations.
Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase instructed the Director of the Mint to prepare a motto for our currency back in 1861 that read:
“Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.
You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.”
Congress passed the Act in 1864 and it was then that the first coins were inscribed with the words “In God We Trust.” In fact, a law passed by the 84th Congress and approved by the President in 1956, declared “In God We Trust” as the national motto of the United States.
Clearly, our government has no issue putting its trust in a higher power so why should anyone shame those of us who only desire to offer comfort from a higher power through prayer following a tragedy?
American values come from the idea that no nation can be strong except in the strength of God. So, isn’t it natural that we as humans turn to God, the one whom we trust, during times of distress and despair?
Isn’t it time we stopped the senseless prayer shaming once and for all?