For more background on this craziness, see this RTD article, which argues:
I’m thankful that we live in a nation where people have freedom of religion, or freedom from religion. In that regard, the board’s resolution seems the antithesis of conservatism or libertarianism. What’s more nanny state than telling people when they should pray?
What comes next? Does the board “urge and encourage” the citizens of Hanover to tithe in lieu of paying taxes? Will it advocate the establishment of an official religion for the county?
Perhaps what we need here is more practicing and less preaching. In Virginia, where the majority party refuses to extend Medicaid coverage to the poor and would deny entry to desperate refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, expressions of religious piety from elected officials ring hollow. Government everywhere should have more pressing business than telling us to hit our knees, not unlike a parent hovering over a child at bedtime.
Also see Patheos, which writes:
…After a short speech by Hazzard about the importance of giving thanks to God, the Supervisors passed a resolution to “urge and encourage the citizens of the Hanover County, Virginia to include prayer in their Thanksgiving celebration.”
Because the people who want small government don’t mind when that government is telling you how to pray to the Christian God.
…Did you catch that last part? Hazzard referred to ISIS in the same condemning breath as the atheists in America who believe the government should remain neutral on religious matters. He fails to see the irony of denouncing the faith-based terrorists by adopting a resolution telling everyone to believe in his God.
The bottom line, IMHO, is that in this country we are entitled to both freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. It most certainly is NOT the place of the government to be promoting any religion (or religion at all — or atheism for that matter; the government should be absolutely neutral in all of this), which is exactly what the Hanover County Board of Supervisors is doing here. And, of course, needless to say, this local governmental body should not be wasting its time passing resolutions comparing Americans who (correctly) believe in the founding constitutional principle of church/state separation to a foreign “enemy” (ISIL, presumably, since that’s the enemy everyone’s talking about these days).
By the way, note that Mr. Hazzard is a self-proclaimed “Christian conservative tea-party Republican,” so it’s crystal clear where he’s coming from. Also note that, according to a recent Pew survey, “There are now approximately 56 million religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S., and this group – sometimes called religious ‘nones’ – is more numerous than either Catholics or mainline Protestants, according to the new survey.” According to that same survey, 29% of the country is either of a non-Christian faith, of no faith/none in particular. And that latter group is growing fast, particularly among younger Americans; note that about 43% of Millenials (born 1981-1996) are now in the “unaffiliated” or “other faiths” categories, compared to just 20% or so who describe themselves as “Evangelical.” Hmmm.