What’s wrong with a National Day of Prayer to honor the victims of Hurricane Harvey? It violates the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
“The phrase “separation between church & state” is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper. Jefferson wrote, “”I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”*
And trump always has to throw a cringe-inducing, narcissistic line that gives me the heebie-jeebies into every tweet or speech.
“(by Presidential Proclamation)!” (sic)
But that line is meaningless, his tweets are meaningless, because he cannot declare any day a National Day of Prayer without violating the Constitution of the United States of America.
Yet so many of his ardent followers declare themselves to be devoted to the Constitution. Well, you can’t protect the Constitution and support trump. It’s like dividing by zero. It can’t be done
Now, what he could have done was proclaim Sunday, September 3, a national day of remembrance and honor of those who lost their lives in Hurricane Harvey. People who want to pray could do so, people who want to observe a moment of silence could do so. I would have suggested a weekday because official days of remembrance have more impact and visibility when people are at work or in school. But trump didn’t do that, and I suspect that I know why. He knows he cannot impose, force, require, etc., an official day of prayer, so he tried to slip it by us by making it a Sunday, a day when many people are already in church.
But it’s still not real.
There is no Hurricane Katrina Memorial Day/Day of Honor/Remembrance Day. There is a Katrina memorial, which I find infinitely more respectful than trump’s “proclamation.” No one asked the people affected by Harvey if they want a permanent day of remembrance. No one could because the disaster is still ongoing. I find it incredibly arrogant of trump to make this unconstitutional declaration just to throw a bone to his evangelical base. That’s what it’s all about. Well, that and trying to push the boundaries between between church and state. And that’s why I wrote this post. We must call him out when he tries to slide something like this past us.
I’m sure that, eventually, there will be Hurricane Harvey memorials in the affected areas and that people will go there in late August and early September to pray, weep, and remember their lost loved ones. That’s how people lost in a disaster should be remembered, as determined by their loved ones . . . not with a sleazy wink, wink tweet by a president with no honor and no sense of propriety.