DAY OF PRAYER PROTEST IN DALLAS
by Randall Gorman
Because Mayor Ronald Kirk proclaimed May 4, 2020, as a Day of Prayer in
the city of Dallas, Texas, saying, “faith is a fundamental part of our
nation’s social fabric” and because Governor George W. Bush had proclaimed
the same day as a Day of Prayer in the state of Texas saying Texans had a
need for prayer to ensure a “moral awakening”, six enthusiastic defenders
of state/church separation protested the public officials’ proclamations as
the local theocrats read them on the steps of the old Dallas County
courthouse affectionately known as “Old Red.” Four uniformed Dallas City
police officers kept watch over the prayer gathering and on the
protesters. While this group demonstrated in Dallas, Dick Hogan, Texas
state director led a one-man demonstration at the NDOP event held on the
steps of the Parker County courthouse in Weatherford.
John & Shelly Hattan, Brian Macintosh, Randy Gorman, and Danny & Ginny
Barnett let the public know that the event on the courthouse steps was
dangerous to the First Amendment freedoms we all enjoy. Randy brought his
amplified bullhorn to keep up a steady chant of “Church and State -
Separate!” without objection for the first forty-five minutes of the prayer
event before being surrounded by the four Dallas police officers. They
informed Randy that he had to turn down the amplification because the NDOP
organization had complained. Randy then adjusted his PA to half the
previous volume and after another 5 minutes a lone officer ordered him to
put it away and not use it at all. Randy put the PA away and finished the
demonstration using only his loud unaided voice.
The local NBC affiliate tv station, KXAS, had a reporter and cameraman
at the event who interviewed four of the demonstrators, Randy Gorman, John
Hattan, Danny and Ginny Barnet. At 6pm the station promoted on-air a story
on atheists for the 10pm newscast. But, alas, the 10pm highlighted the
Christian/Atheist relationship existing between the Barnets along with a
few frames of our protest. A bright point though was that there was no
coverage of the NDOP event at all. Randy Gorman, Texas state co-director,
gave the reporter reasons for keeping government out of religion. On
camera, the reporter then asked why he didn’t believe in God, what did he
do when he had depression and where would he go when he died. Randy
answered by asking first for a definition of “God”, that he would see a
physician for medication if he was suffering from severe depression and
that when he died he would simply cease to exist.
All of us had to weather a constant proselytizing attempt by various
“brave” religionists who thought they could convert us on spot. We got
many horn honks of support as Shelly displayed her sign reading, “HONK IF
YOU SUPPORT SEPARATION OF STATE AND CHURCH.” and many pedestrians spoke
agreement to us. Even though our number was small, the prayer group wasn’t
all that large either. Metroplex Atheists think they had a successful
demonstration, that it was worthwhile and enjoyed by all participants and
now, it’s on to the June 10th protest of the annual “March for
Jesus.” Visit http://www.atheists.org/tx for details.
Randy Gorman looking over the supplicants.
Shelly Hattan gets lots of support from her “interactive” sign.
John Hattan with NBC-5.
Brian McIntosh, our Metroplex Atheists photographer.
Danny and Ginny Barnet interviewed by NBC-5 and was featured on the 10pm
newscast. (because of the human interest story that Ginny is atheist married to a
christian (quaker) Danny.)
Randy Gorman arguing that there is no efficacy in prayer.
Ginny Barnet gives her views on prayer.
For more pictures of this event, please visit Texas American Atheists.
© 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by American Atheists.