"A purist would insist that prayers in government settings blur the constitutional distinction between church and state"
Um, they do. Prayers, being religious in nature, don't belong anywhere near the workings of government.
Yeah, I'm well aware that the Founding Fathers invoked God in session. The Founding Fathers were products of their era, and also weren't perfect. Some of them (the author of the Declaration of Independence included) even OWNED OTHER PEOPLE, but we don't hear a lot of talk about that, or about how "all men are created equal" originally applied only to white males of property (which if applied today would make a mockery of the recent federal election). I admire the heck out of the Founding Fathers for their intelligence and bravery and passion and unfailing tenacity, but hey, some perspective, here.
"Pushed to its logical conclusion, such 1st Amendment fundamentalism would forbid presidents of the United States from invoking God in their speeches or participating in the National Prayer Breakfast, a tradition that goes back to President Eisenhower."
Apparently I'm a First Amendment fundamentalist, because ITA with this idea. So WHAT if the "tradition" goes back to Eisenhower? I don't care if it goes back to George Washington. Longstanding tradition ≠ rightness, wtf?
The addition of "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance goes back to the Eisenhower era, too. It was adopted as an adjunct to McCarthyism, but hey, it's still perfectly okay, and people who want it removed on the basis of the First Amendment are accused of being God haters, anti-American, or even (*gasp!*) Communists (O HAI, GHOST OF JOE MCCARTHY!). Nobody would ever call them patriots, a term universally applied to the Founding Fathers, who did all those brave, passionate, tenacious things on the basis of religious freedom and liberty for white men of property.
In the comments to her post mijan links to this video, which might be the most disturbing thing of all:
I don't think ANY prayer belongs in government sessions, but if they are, then they ALL are. Yeah, this was heckling from the gallery, but nobody can convince me it wasn't covertly sanctioned by at least a few of the senators.
Having said all that, I'm with mijan--if someone decides to run for office on the Pastafarian platform, I'm SO there. As long as they don't do any ritual capellini-eating during congressional sessions, of course. *g*
I really want to read American Savior. Jesus runs for President. On the BEATITUDES PLATFORM. How awesome is that? I wonder if my library has it.