As I reported before, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has organized a prayer meeting on Tuesday, November 13 at the Georgia Capitol to pray for rain to relieve the state’s severe drought.Â Local non-theists have announced plans for a peaceful protest.Â Their news release is included below.
(Something for the Governor to consider:Â Matthew 5:45 says “…He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”Â If God sendeth the rain to the just and the unjust, logically he also withholds rain from the just and the unjust.Â Why has God withheld rain of late?)Â
NEWS RELEASE (for IMMEDIATE RELEASE)
The Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, has called for a prayer service on the Georgia Capitol grounds, Washington Street side, at 11:45 am. on Tuesday, 13th November 2007 to pray for rain. This is embarrassingly foolish, a great mistake, a waste of taxpayer money, and unconstitutional on its face.
The Atlanta Freethought Society, along with two of the biggest and best national organizations for freethinkers, the Council for Secular Humanism (headquarters in Amherst NY), and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (headquarters in Madison WI)–will engage in a polite and peaceful protest on next Tuesday, 13 November at the Georgia Capitol Building in downtown Atlanta (Washington Street near the intersection with Martin Luther King Drive SW–the north corner of the Capitol grounds), from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
AFS President Steve Yothment noted, “Let the ministers and churches call people to prayer. The Governor should work with the surrounding states’ leaders and with water management authorities to ensure adequate water for Georgia and not rely on prayer as a water management strategy.”
Members of the Georgia Chapter of Americans United are being cc-d about this also, for information, because a major reason for protesting is the egregious violation of church-state separation that the Governor of Georgia is leading at the Capitol at that hour. Some AU members may join our protest based on the Governor’s flouting of the First Amendment and the Georgia Constitution. But AU does not–and should not–offer critiques of religious prayer, only of religious liberty violations.
This protest will be directed at the Governor’s actions on the basis both of violations of religious liberty and on the basis of absurd religious ideas.
Deeply religious Christians and other believers should take offense at this as bad religion and as a threat to religious liberty.
Deeply irreligious Georgians should take offense that someone representing us should engage in such illogical nonsense, with the potential to embarrass us all internationally.
Georgians of all religious or irreligious beliefs and of every political philosophy should take offense at this waste of our tax dollars and plain violation of separation of church and state and of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and straightforward violation of the Georgia Constitution, Article I, Section II, Paragraph VI:
“Paragraph VI. Separation of church and state. No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, cult, or religious denomination or of any sectarian institution.
A rally permit has been issued by the Georgia Capitol Police/Georgia Building Authority as of 9th November–granting us approval. The Georgia Building Authority is expecting a large crowd and extensive media coverage, so please come early–parking at the Capitol itself is unlikely to be available, so please expect to park well away from there (probably at the baseball stadium lots or at the Sloppy Floyd/Twin Towers Building Garage) and walk a good ways. Carpools and MARTA are highly recommended. We have gotten some fairly nasty e-mails about this already, so please be prepared for the possibility of hostile counter-protestors. We must remain peaceful and polite, even if others aren’t.
Suggested possible protest signs (bring your own; follow these suggestions if you wish), written primarily by AFS Board member Jack McKinney (he’s not on strike) are below.
The media is hereby alerted and invited to call Ed Buckner (AFS Treasurer and Southern Director for the Council for Secular Humanism) at 404-284-3478, ext. 114 or Steve Yothment (AFS President) at 404-284-3478, ext. 111. Anyone from the press may also call Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF at 608-256-8900 or Council for Secular Humanism Executive Director Dr. David Koepsell at 716-913-2422
Please join us.
Ed Buckner, Treasurer
Atlanta Freethought Society
1170 Grimes Bridge Rd, Suite 500
Roswell GA 30075-3965
404-284-3478, ext.114 (Ed’s ext.)