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Holy Hokey Pokey Hits San Jose

May 5, 2020

Once again, American Atheists supported the Constitution while government and religion worked to subvert it.

On a bright California morning, over 200 city workers and residents gathered on the San Jose City Hall lawn to hear their tax-paid leaders promote private religion.

Surrounding them were a dozen Atheists from 5 local clubs, carrying signs protesting the event. The Atheists cheerfully passed out press releases and Bay Area Atheist brochures. Some people asked questions. Some were grateful we were there to balance the religious fervor. Some even asked to attend our meetings.

A rock band began to pound, and soloists so bad even Jesus wouldn't like them warbled away. The audience swayed and waved their arms. Even 2 uniformed San Jose police joined the crowd to sway and wave.

But this was a prayer event, not a musical one, so the program quickly turned to prayer and lots of it. Mayor Gonzales read a proclamation. A City Council member, an executive of the Sharks hockey team, and a dozen local preachers took their turn at the microphone to lead prayers. They even "explained how to pray" to those with short memories or who were creatively challenged. Why a microphone was needed for prayer was not explained, but perhaps their god was going deaf from listening to an entire National Day of Prayers.

It turned into an hour of "holy hokey-pokey." People prayed to the East Coast and the West, to the North and the South. They prayed in one group, then in small circles, heads bowed and heads raised, facing in and facing out, holding hands and waving hands. The Atheists just couldn't resist waving back!

Prayers were made for George Bush, civic leaders, churches, businesses, police, armed forces, parents, students, CEOs, dealmakers, residents of dumpsters and even the stock market. Nothing was omitted from this civic-pride prayer smorgasbord.

Finally, it ended. Both the pray-ers and the Atheists were ready for the realities of lunch. But only the Atheists noticed that no prayers were answered.

Signs used:
A Mayor Should Not Act Like a Preacher
Don't Say Prayers -- Solve Problems
No Government-Sponsored Prayer
No Faith-Based Partnerships
No Prayers on Public Property
Praying is Begging
Not Every Taxpayer Is a Christian - Recognize Diversity
Nothing Fails Like Prayer

[photos from this event are available here. Ed.]

Gentleman Jim Heldberg is National Affiliation Director for American Atheists, and lives in his favorite city, by the bay.


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