A banner reading ‘Nothing Prevails Like Prayer’ is now displayed on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.
6/30/14 update: I contacted a treasurer involved with the group responsible for the banner. We had a phone conversation in which she told me a person from her group contacted the city. The city said there was a mistake and would place the banner on the front side of the scaffolding structure. I informed the treasurer, as I did in my blog post, after I identified myself, that I think all banners should be placed on the front side of the scaffolding structure and that I would contact City Hall if no changes are made.
Last month, as a response to the National Day of Prayer and a corresponding Circle the Square With Prayer event, I displayed a banner reading ‘Nothing Fails Like Prayer’ on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The banner, placed days late, was unprominently displayed on the reverse side of a scaffolding structure – out of sight of Circle the Square With Prayer event attendees.
Following the unprominent display, I questioned city officials about the banner’s placement (see video of an exchange here) — noting I never have seen a banner displayed on the reverse side of the scaffolding structure — and was informed that my banner was unprominently displayed because Public Square was rented for that day. This explanation is flawed because there is no evidence of rental agreements dictating this and a banner reading ‘May is Mental Health Month’—displayed by NAMI as a right-to-know request unveiled — was prominently displayed alongside a National Day of Prayer banner.
Now, a group, The Lay Servants of the Immaculate Heart Of Mary, presumably responding to the Nothing Fails Like Prayer banner, is advertising on Public Square and, oddly enough, the banner is being displayed on the reverse side of the scaffolding structure. Last month, I asked city officials to display all banners at equal prominence and now – for some reason – a religious banner, the second banner I ever saw erected on the reverse side of the scaffolding structure, is being unprominently displayed. City officials have ignored my request for equal promotion of viewpoints submitted by members of the public.
Will city officials now, displaying this new banner unprominently, use this as reason to openly discriminate – as they already have seem to have done – on the basis of viewpoint by placing certain banners, whether they be mine or others, at their discretion with little to no accountability or oversight, out of prominence?
Sadly, I have not been contacted by the organization responsible for the ‘Nothing Prevails Like Prayer’ banner. Since they are hanging this banner, what seems to be a response to the banner I hung, I would think they would be interested in dialogue. I would be happy to discuss the efficacy of prayer, arguments for/against the existence of God, and related topics – preferably in a public format similar to discussions and debates I had with Pastor Dan Nichols and Pastor Michael Brewster.
I contend there is no good reason to suggest prayer – communication with a supernatural being – prevails. There are no good reasons to suggest that supernatural interventions are part of day-to-day life. Instead, prayers go unanswered. Natural disasters, deadly birth defects, and an insurmountable amount of unneeded suffering plagues our existence despite centuries of requests for a reprieve. Nothing fails like prayer.