Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve H.R. 2070, the Prayer Act of 2011. The legislation, if passed in the Senate and signed into law by the President, would not only allow, but mandate the creation of a government-sponsored expression of religious worship on public land on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
The bill would enshrine in our nation’s capital city an official statement that World War II was fought in order to preserve Christianity. This statement is historically inaccurate. The purpose of America’s involvement in the war was not religious, but a matter of international security: To militarily defeat the Axis nations of Germany, Italy and Japan. Two out of the three enemy nations were majority Christian at the time.
There are some Americans who want to teach future generations of children that World War II was a battle to defend promote one religion over other enemy religions, but it just isn’t so. World War II was entered by the United States to respond to an attack on a military base in Hawaii, not to retaliate against an attack on any religion.
It isn’t just historically inaccurate to create a public display claiming that World War II was a religious crusade. It’s also unconstitutional. The First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Only 26 members of the House of Representatives were willing to support this fundamental American value, and to defend historical accuracy in national monuments. Though they were in the minority, they deserve our hearty thanks for standing against legislation that had politically-connected backers, yet lacked in common sense.
The names of these 26 defenders of reason, American history and the separation of church and state were:
William Lacy Clay