Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY…. We talked earlier about a federal court ruling that found it problematic when the federal government designates a special day to encourage Americans to pray. Something about the separation of church and state, the First Amendment, and the notion that it’s not the government’s business when, how, or whether we worship.

The court ruling is being appealed, but in the meantime, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly decided to debate the court ruling today with the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. [Full disclosure: Barry is a long-time friend of mine.]

During the discussion, Barry explained a concept that should be obvious: “Prayer is religious. It’s nothing but that. There is no secular purpose here.” If there’s no secular purpose, than it’s not something the government should be involved in.

Kelly, unembarrassed about her role as an anchor/activist, pushed back to defend the National Day of Prayer. “[W]hy can’t it be a day where we take a moment and we stop and we acknowledge the role that God has played in the formation of this country and its laws,” Kelly asked incredulously. “What’s so promotional about religion there?”

Now, I’ve never been especially impressed with Megyn Kelly’s understanding of current events, but I’d hoped she understood the meaning of the words “promotion” and “religion.”

In this case, she likes the idea of having the government designate an official prayer day, intended as a way of honoring God’s special role in influencing and shaping American society.

This, Kelly concluded, would not be an example of promoting religion.

Once in a while, I feel kind of sorry for Fox News viewers. Is it any wonder they’re confused?

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation