A Christmas Prayer from a Born-Again Atheist

It’s easy for any born-again atheist to come down hard on religious piety and expose church hypocrisy for all its worth. But it’s that time when it’s expected to muster all one’s chits for God and bless the whole world, no exceptions.


Come next Friday, Saturday and Sunday all churches, synagogues, and mosques will be doing their usual brotherhood sermons, extolling the virtues of peace and love and welcoming the stranger into one’s home, unless they’re undocumented, of course. Our Christian Senators didn’t seem to like that part of ‘his’ teachings when it came to the Dream Act.

According to icasualties.org the “Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq” stands at 4,748. No doubt every church in America come Christmas morning, evening mass, along with the synagogues and mosques, will be praying for the safety of the thousands more yet to be killed. Perhaps many of those same churches (to refer to all the houses of worship) are leaders in the invisible anti-war movement. They’ve marched against the war, held vigils for the dead Iraqis and other civilians murdered, and pressured their members of Congress to stop funding the slaughter or to set a ‘reasonable’ time table to end the ongoing murder of people who are only defending themselves against the new Roman Empire (that’s in its final stages). Some may even be calling for an end of total occupation, but that’s certainly not a majority of them.

I’d like them to do something more than just their usual prayers for these soldiers. I’d like all of them, especially those who profess a belief in their pacifist son of God to do a little bit extra praying this time. They always say they pray for the innocents of war. So let’s go a step further. Let’s hear them pray that no bullet from any army issued rifle hits their target. Let them pray that not a single IED goes off. Let them pray that any civilian running away from any occupying soldier makes it home safely, regardless of whatever they did. Let them pray that the air transport systems that carry monsters of death and destruction never leave the airfield in the US or its bases in Europe and elsewhere, as if someone poured molasses in the engines. It’s not going to be The Day the Earth Stood Still but let’s see if our religious institutions actually have the courage to call for a real end of war, chastise (or excommunicate?) the policy makers of war, and not just do the convenient patriotic calls reminding all that God is on the side of America.

Many twisted Christians will say that Islam is a war-like religion. Some Muslims are seeing the occupation as a Crusade against Islam. (Damn that Bush for saying that, too. Really hurt the narrative of promoting freedom.) Tikunniks will say everyone’s at fault, including the Palestinians who fight against their oppressors. I wish they would all just shut the hell up and admit that they have no beliefs in the sanctity of universal life or they be true to their beliefs and really stop promoting the wars they ‘wish’ would end with half-assed prayers, as if praying to a concept has as much value as crossing one’s fingers when the lottery numbers come up.

And in case there is a supreme deity out there, I have my ticket for the Mega Millions this Friday. I’m crossing my fingers because I know I’m going to win.

Myles Hoenig is a veteran of the Prince George's County Public School system in Maryland, USA. He's a long time activist for social justice. He lives in Baltimore. Read other articles by Myles.

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  1. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 26th, 2010 at 3:14pm #

    Warren Mitchell said on the radio once that his old Jewish dad’s favourite expression was, ‘Thank God I’m an atheist!’, with which I heartily concur.