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Tom Vilsack’s Praying for Rain Comment Draws Ire of Atheist Group

Scott Olson, Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack brought the anger of atheist groups toward the Obama Administration on Friday with his comments about praying for rain.

I get on my knees everyday and I’m saying an extra prayer right now,” Vilsack said. “If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

The comments were in relation to the ongoing drought in the Midwest United States and Vilsack’s report to President Obama.

The Council for Secular Humanism criticized the administration for taking a religious position.

Tom Flynn, President of the Council for Secular Humanism said in press release, “The Obama Administration has been criticized by secular humanists for backpedaling on then-candidate Obama’s campaign pledge to reverse Bush-era policies that provide federal funding to religious charities that discriminate in hiring.

But praying for rain? That’s not just government entangling itself with religion, that’s government publicly practicing it, and wallowing in superstition.

For a Cabinet official to recommend prayer as a solution or call attention to his own devotions may violate the Constitution’s prohibition against establishment of religion.

Most important, though, is that prayer doesn’t work. But if you want to test the power of prayer yourself, consider this. Apparently Secretary Vilsack’s been praying for rain every day; how’s that working out?”

The Obama Administration has not responded to the press release, nor has Secretary Vilsack.

According to government estimates this week, the area affected by the drought is the largest since 1956, but not the costliest.

Vilsack urged Congress to work with the Obama Administration to expand aid to farmers who are struggling this year with a drought that is impacting 61% of land throughout the country.

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