Elected Officials Need To Stop Being Preachers On Day Of Prayer

Thursday May 1st was the National Day of Reason (and for theists it was the National Day of Prayer). Since the majority of people observe the Day of Prayer, our local newspaper had a story about the God pep rally held on the west plaza of the Ohio Statehouse. A building meant to govern all people was turned into a church and the minister was Ohio State Auditor David Yost. The photo with the article made me ill. Elected officials shouldn’t be preaching their religion when acting in their official capacity and government buildings shouldn’t be used as churches.

Here is a screenshot of the front page of the Columbus Dispatch on its website:

screencap from Columbus Dispatch website front page on May 1st 2014

Not only did the shot of Ohio State Auditor David Yost hugging his wife, framed by the US Flag, make me nauseous, the caption made me throw up in my mouth:

Ohio Auditor David Yost and his wife Darlene embrace while praying during the Ohio National Day of Prayer Observance on the west plaza of the Statehouse.

In the article, we learn that Yost was the minister of the event:

State Auditor Dave Yost, who offered a prayer for government, said the weather brought to mind a Bible story in which Jesus, talking to Pharisee Nicodemus, says that the wind is like life in the spirit.

“Father, thank you for this wind today,” he prayed. “It reminds us that even though we cannot measure love, it is real. Even though we cannot see trust, it is real. Even though we cannot taste loyalty or virtue or courage, all these things are real, and it is the unseen things that have power to move us.” 

Bitter wind doesn’t deter faithful on National Day of Prayer

A prayer for government? How does a prayer end poverty, create new jobs, fight fires, or maintain the water supply? Prayer doesn’t do anything for government. Emotions or ideals don’t prove god exists and like usual a believer uses a negative event (the cold wind) to give credit to God. That is ridiculous.

Elected officials should be working for me and not preaching to me. They are paid to operate the government not spew nonsense platitudes.

And why do we never hear these government preachers recite this part of the Bible:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:6

You can’t close the door and pray in secret on the west plaza of the Ohio Statehouse.

*Side Note*

While the picture and the article made me very ill in general, I will give a tip of the hat to the reporter JoAnne Viviano. She mentioned the National Day of Reason and wrote about my local Humanist group having a blood drive last week as part of the celebration.