One of the things that happens during wars is that we pass resolutions supporting our troops and calling for various forms of recognition; and this is a good thing. For example, the Massachusetts House carefully passed a resolution that supported the troops but which did not endorse the war. It can be done. And prayers are non-denominational.
On the other hand, it can go too far. Prayer is one thing, but fasting — that signifies a particular type of religious activity. It’s not a type that I condemn; self-deprivation for religious purposes has a long and respectable history. Bush’s brand of fundamentalism is one example, but so is the Sufi tradition.
The commonality, though, is the place such religions take in one’s everyday life. To fast for one’s religion signifies that even the basic functions of existence are less important than one’s god. I believe that it is inappropriate to call upon Americans to hold their god in that place of supremacy over their lives; we are a free country, and one aspect of that freedom is the freedom to choose precisely what of our wills we subjugate to a higher power.
By passing this resolution, our Congress has indicated that they believe Americans should take a very specific action in order to properly honor their god. It is an action which represents a kind of surrender. I think that’s a matter of personal choice: to demand it is, simply, wrong.