• Petitioning Bill Cole

This petition will be delivered to:

State Senate - West Virginia-006B
Bill Cole
State Senate - West Virginia-014B
Bob Williams
State Senate - West Virginia-009A
Mike Green
West Virginia-004B
State Sen. Mitchell Carmichael
West Virginia-004A
State Sen. Mike Hall
West Virginia-007A
State Sen. Ron Stollings
West Virginia-005A
State Sen. Evan Jenkins
West Virginia-008B
State Sen. Chris Walters
West Virginia-012A
State Sen. Samuel Cann
West Virginia-002A
State Sen. Larry Edgell
West Virginia-002B
State Sen. Jeffrey Kessler
West Virginia-003B
State Sen. Donna Boley
West Virginia-013B
State Sen. Roman Prezioso
West Virginia-014A
State Sen. David Sypolt
West Virginia-016A
State Sen. John Unger
West Virginia-008A
State Sen. Erik Wells
West Virginia-015B
State Sen. Craig Blair
West Virginia-015A
State Sen. Donald Cookman
West Virginia-001A
State Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons
West Virginia-005B
State Sen. Robert Plymale
West Virginia-013A
State Sen. Robert Beach
West Virginia-006A
State Sen. H. Truman Chafin
West Virginia-001B
State Sen. Jack Yost
West Virginia-009B
State Sen. Daniel Hall
West Virginia-011B
State Sen. Clark Barnes
West Virginia-016B
State Sen. Herbert Snyder
West Virginia-012B
State Sen. Douglas Facemire
West Virginia-010A
State Sen. Ronald Miller
West Virginia-010B
State Sen. William Laird
West Virginia-003A
State Sen. David Nohe
West Virginia-011A
State Sen. Gregory Tucker
West Virginia-007B
State Sen. Arthur Kirkendoll
West Virginia-017A
State Sen. Brooks McCabe
West Virginia-017B
State Sen. Corey Palumbo

Defeat House Bill 4135 (Establishes WV Day of Prayer)

    1. Petition by

      Secular Student Alliance at West Virginia University

The West Virginia House of Delagates passed House Bill 4135 unanimously (with two abstaining) on January 21, 2014.  This bill establishes a West Virginia Day of Prayer on the same day as the National Day of Prayer.  The bill can be read in its entirety here.  

By the wording of the bill, it is obvious that this establishes a Judeo-Christian day of prayer.  Because of this, this bill excludes many West Virginians who are of different religions or who are not religious.  It is not okay to exclude constituents from this holiday based on their religion.  Our group promotes inclusivity, while this bill does not.

Another concern many share about this bill is that it violates the separation of church and state.  By being exclusive to all religions (and non-religious people) except Christianity, this bill effectively promotes Christianity, just one step away from establishing a state religion.

A third concern we have with House Bill 4135 is that it may affect public education.  Many teachers would take the established day of prayer to sneak religious education into their curriculum under the guise of the statewide holiday.

With these three concerns combined, it is important that we voice our opinions on this bill.  It hasn't had much media coverage at all.  Let's send a message to our state senators and let them know where we stand on House Bill 4135 by delivering this petition with as many signatures as possible.

To:
Bill Cole, State Senate - West Virginia-006B
Bob Williams, State Senate - West Virginia-014B
Mike Green, State Senate - West Virginia-009A
State Sen. Mitchell Carmichael, West Virginia-004B
State Sen. Mike Hall, West Virginia-004A
State Sen. Ron Stollings, West Virginia-007A
State Sen. Evan Jenkins, West Virginia-005A
State Sen. Chris Walters, West Virginia-008B
State Sen. Samuel Cann, West Virginia-012A
State Sen. Larry Edgell, West Virginia-002A
State Sen. Jeffrey Kessler, West Virginia-002B
State Sen. Donna Boley, West Virginia-003B
State Sen. Roman Prezioso, West Virginia-013B
State Sen. David Sypolt, West Virginia-014A
State Sen. John Unger, West Virginia-016A
State Sen. Erik Wells, West Virginia-008A
State Sen. Craig Blair, West Virginia-015B
State Sen. Donald Cookman, West Virginia-015A
State Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons, West Virginia-001A
State Sen. Robert Plymale, West Virginia-005B
State Sen. Robert Beach, West Virginia-013A
State Sen. H. Truman Chafin, West Virginia-006A
State Sen. Jack Yost, West Virginia-001B
State Sen. Daniel Hall, West Virginia-009B
State Sen. Clark Barnes, West Virginia-011B
State Sen. Herbert Snyder, West Virginia-016B
State Sen. Douglas Facemire, West Virginia-012B
State Sen. Ronald Miller, West Virginia-010A
State Sen. William Laird, West Virginia-010B
State Sen. David Nohe, West Virginia-003A
State Sen. Gregory Tucker, West Virginia-011A
State Sen. Arthur Kirkendoll, West Virginia-007B
State Sen. Brooks McCabe, West Virginia-017A
State Sen. Corey Palumbo, West Virginia-017B
Defeat House Bill 4135 (Establishes WV Day of Prayer)

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 250 signatures
    2. Sponsor of House Bill 4135 Asserts the Bill Includes All Religions

      Hello everyone. The video clip that was posted in the last update had a very important part. In it, they interviewed the sponsor of House Bill 4135. In the interview, she asserted that this bill including all religions. It is obvious by the language of the bill (capitalizing "God" and using the word "church" instead of a phrase like "places of worship") that it was intended to include only those of Christian faith. Let's send a message loud and clear that bill should not be passed as written! Thanks.

    3. Reached 200 signatures
    4. Our Petition Featured on The Friendly Atheist Blog

      Hey Guys! I would like to thank you again for supporting our cause. Our petition was featured on The Friendly Atheist blog today. A big thanks to Hemant for helping us make more people aware of this important issue. Also, a big thanks to those of you who signed who were directed here by Hemant. Again, please share this petition liberally! We want to send a message to our state senators that this bill is NOT ok!
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/24/west-virginia-house-unanimously-passes-day-of-prayer-bill/#disqus_thread

      West Virginia House Unanimously Passes 'Day of Prayer' Bill

      West Virginia Delegate Peggy Smith (below) just got a bill through the state House establishing the first Thursday in May as the " West Virginia Day of Prayer " (to coincide with the National Day of Prayer): The Governor shall, by proclamation, declare the first Thursday in May as the West Virginia Day of Prayer.

    5. Reached 100 signatures
    6. Spelling Error Being Fixed

      We are aware of the spelling error and are having it fixed. Every time we try to edit it, we get an error, so we have contacted change.org.

    7. Reached 25 signatures
    8. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Bruce E Carney CHARLESTON, WV
      • about 1 month ago

      Article I of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution clearly establishes that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." The U.S. Constitution applies to the States as well. The proposed WV bill compels all future Governors of West Virginia: "The Governor shall, by proclamation, declare the first Thursday in May as the West Virginia Day of Prayer. The West Virginia Day of Prayer corresponds with the National Day of Prayer, 36 U.S.C. §119, on which the people of West Virginia may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals." The Federal version of this law, 36 U.S.C. § 119, was passed in 1952 and signed into law by Harry S. Truman, a Southern Baptist Christian. By using the word 'shall,' the law compels all future Presidents of the United States: "The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals."

      As explained in Wikipedia, the Federal law was challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and District Judge Barbara Crabb declared the statute unconstitutional, as it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function." However on appeal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Crabb's decision, not on the basis of constitutionality, but based on a technical ruling that the FFRF did not have standing to sue because the National Day of Prayer had not caused them harm and "a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury." The court went on to say, "the President is free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious, and that such requests do not obligate citizens to comply and do not encroach on citizens' rights." The court also cited Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address because Lincoln's address referenced God seven times and prayer three times.

      This is a non sequitur, as Abraham Lincoln was not compelled by law to proclaim a National Day of Prayer to God in churches. Lincoln chose the words in his address of his own free will. All future Presidents are not just "free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious." The President is compelled to ("shall") appeal to the public to "turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches."

      The decision by the Court of Appeals was praised by the "Family Research Council," an innocuous sounding conservative Christian lobbying and anti-gay hate group based in Washington, D.C. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/family-research-council

      This law is an overtly Christian appeal and it is unconstitutional. It is not as if Christians need the President to proclaim that they are allowed to ("may") turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches on the first Thursday of May every year. All citizens of the United States are free under the constitution to pray when and wherever they want to, as the Constitution clearly says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But now, let us define what the prayer aspect of the free exercise of religion means. An individual citizen is free to pray when and wherever they want to, according to their personal belief. The Supreme Court has already ruled that no person is free under the Constitution to lead a prayer whenever and wherever they want to because this infringes on the rights of others who do not believe as they believe or pray as they pray. As soon as a person says, "Let us pray," the person is no longer just praying, the person is conducting a prayer for a larger group. And that is what places of worship all across the United States are for, where people can come together in a common belief. It is not within the purview of Legislative Power, Executive Power or Judicial Power to compel the President of the United States or any Governor or other holder of public office, that the President or Governor or other office holder "shall" declare or proclaim that citizens may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals on the first Thursday of May every year, or any other day of the year. As District Judge Barbara Crabb declared, it is "an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function." And that is why this law, as well as the proposed West Virginia House Bill 4135, is unconstitutional.

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    • Elizabeth Lindsay CHAPMANVILLE, WV
      • about 1 month ago

      I do NOT want to live under a theocracy!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Walter Lindsay MADISON, WV
      • about 1 month ago

      I feel there is no room for religion in government, nor should there be.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Laura Mahony CHARLESTON, WV
      • about 1 month ago

      Religion has no place in government, except for government to protect the right to practice or not as individuals see fit.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Chuck Anziulewicz SPRING HILL, WV
      • about 1 month ago

      Why do we need a West Virginia Day of Prayer?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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