NEPA Freethought Society to protest Circle the Square With Prayer event


Media Contact: Justin Vacula, justinvacula [at]

NEPA Freethought Society to protest Circle the Square With Prayer event

Wilkes-Barre – The NEPA Freethought Society — a social, educational, activist, and philosophical coalition of atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists, and skeptics predicated on support and community which upholds the separation of church and state and promotes critical thinking — will protest the May 1, 2014 Circle the Square With Prayer event to be held on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre commemorating the National Day of Prayer.

Justin Vacula — NEPA Freethought Society Spokesperson and Co-organizer — will be attending and organizing the protest with intentions to civilly and peacefully engage event attendees and passerby to educate on matters of secularism, atheism, and separation of church and state. A banner reading ‘Nothing Fails Like Prayer’ paid for by the Freedom From Religion Foundation will also hang on Public Square from April 28 to May 5, joining Vacula and NEPA Freethought Society members in protest.

Vacula voiced his objections to the Circle the Square With Prayer event, “Prayer will not fix the problems facing our nation. Government officials should not be leading citizens in prayer or encouraging citizens to pray as the United States Government does each May and Wilkes-Barre City Council members do at government functions. Government should remove itself from religious activities.”

At a May 30, 2013 City Council meeting, Mayor of Wilkes-Barre Thomas Leighton lamented the ‘Nothing Fails Like Prayer’ banner — previously displayed on Public Square — saying, “We live in a free country; unfortunately everybody has the rights to whatever they want to say” after noting he and council members are “people of faith.” Vacula is eager to again exercise his freedom of speech in response to Mayor Leighton.

Religious individuals throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania — especially including those attending the event — are welcome to engage Vacula and members of the NEPA Freethought Society as Bible verse 1 Peter 3:15 suggests, “If anyone asks the reason for your faith, prepare a defense but do so with gentleness and respect.”

More information about the NEPA Freethought Society can be found on the NEPA Freethought Society’s new website at

Vacula’s website can be found at



Justin Vacula

Justin Vacula hosts the Stoic Philosophy Podcast; serves as co-organizer and spokesperson for the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society; and has hosted monthly Stoic Philosophy discussion groups for the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia. He has appeared on and hosted various radio shows and podcasts; participated in formal debates and discussions; was a guest speaker for college-level courses; was featured in local, national, and international news; and has been invited to speak at various national, local, and statewide events. Vacula received bachelor's degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a minor in Professional Writing, and the distinguished W.A. Kilburn Memorial Award for Philosophy from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in the Scranton, PA area attending Marywood University's graduate-level Mental Health Counseling program and has worked with the Arc of Luzerne County's Transition to Community Employment program as a teacher's assistant and job coach alongside adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He also plays poker; volunteers as a member of the website and media team for the Greyhawk Reborn Dungeons & Dragons campaign while playing at events in the Eastern United States; and enjoys metal music.