The first Thursday of May, according to a 1952 Congressional resolution, is designated the National Day of Prayer. A website devoted to it says the event “stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people.”

This is absurd. There is no evidence that a supernatural being exists, much less that such a being listens to or answers people’s prayers. The Day of Prayer rests on the faulty premise that, if we pray to an alleged God, he will somehow hear us and provide us with sound guidance.

Because there is no God to hear prayers or provide guidance, virtually everyone who prays to God for political guidance comes up with a different version of God’s alleged answers. Leftists believe God wants us to establish a massive welfare state to compel people to be their brothers’ keepers. Conservatives believe God wants us to ban gay marriage, ban abortion, promote religion in tax-funded schools, redistribute money to the poor, and the like. The Taliban believe God wants us to establish sharia law, subjugate women, obliterate free speech, slaughter infidels, and the like.

When people pray to God for political guidance and then act on what they allegedly hear from Him, they in fact act on their feelings. They pretend that an all-powerful supernatural being provides infallible guidance; then, they promote their political programs all the more exuberantly because they supposedly have God on their side.

The proper alternative to praying is thinking—going by observation, logic, and demonstrably true principles. By observing facts about the world and facts about man, we can logically derive the principles for proper government.

As Craig Biddle explains in “Ayn Rand’s Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society,” in order to live and prosper, people need to be free to act on their judgment—their basic means of survival; therefore they need a government to protect their right to act on their judgment so that they can live together peacefully in a social context. (See Biddle’s article for details.)

Rather than humbly seek God’s guidance through prayer, we should proudly uphold the value of reason as our only means of achieving rational guidance in politics or any other area of life. And we should demand that our political leaders go, not by faith, feelings, or popular opinion, but by rational, rights-respecting principles.


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