***Update***: The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to the mayor.
The mayor of Kissimmee, Florida, José Alvarez (below), signed a decree declaring 40 days of prayer and fasting in the city in order to solve ALL THE PROBLEMS.
“This is a prayer and a fasting just because of the things that are going on around the world, the hurricanes, all the displacements of families, and all the things that are going around, not just in Kissimmee but the world,” said Olga Gonzalez, City of Kissimmee Commissioner.
The actual proclamation is less controversial than its intended meaning, but it’s still disturbing toward the end.
WHEREAS, members of the City of Kissimmee are celebrating this hope for the City with 40 days of prayer for peace, justice, love and solidarity between men and women of all faiths, and invite all residents to join them in this celebration by praying, doing acts of kindness, watching over the safety of neighbors and fellow citizens, volunteering and uniting to help those in need to make our City the best place to live.
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the City Commission for the City of Kissimmee do hereby proclaim the beginning of “FORTY DAYS OF CELEBRATION OF LIFE, LOVE AND FAMILY” in the City of Kissimmee, Florida, and our noble nation for the good of all.
Needless to say, praying doesn’t make a city a better place to live.
While the proclamation doesn’t go so far as to endorse a particular God or religion, and doesn’t even mention “fasting,” the implication is that meeting for one hour every morning for 40 days — in a government-sponsored way — will somehow solve the problems government is supposed to be fixing.
They’d be better off taking that hour and working to solve the city’s problems instead of not eating and praying to a God that isn’t listening.
The tradition of prayer and fasting in this way originated in Puerto Rico and is routine in Latin American nations, according to Paula Machado of News 13, which is why it might play well with the Florida constituents. But that doesn’t mean it’s useful.
The Hour of Inaction will take place from 6:00-7:00a beginning August 21.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Ellen for the link)