Brownback has declared Dec. 8 to be a “Day of Restoration” and called on Americans to “collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God and ask for His mercy on us.” The proclamation promotes ReignDown USA, a group that plans to hold a nationally simulcast evangelistic event that day in in Topeka, Kan.
Vickie Sandell Stangl, president of the Great Plains Chapter of Americans United, says “the governor is really overstepping his constitutional bounds. He was elected to serve as governor of our state, not our state pastor-in-chief.”
“The people of Kansas do not need politicians telling us when, how or whether to pray,” Stangl continued. “If anybody needs to repent, it’s Gov. Brownback. He needs to repent for violating the constitutional separation of church and state.”
Stangl said Brownback’s promotion of the event is a reminder of his long-standing ties to some of the most extreme elements of the Religious Right. Leaders of the fundamentalist movement want to tear down the wall of separation between religion and government and impose their religious viewpoint on all Americans.
Stangl continues, “The event Saturday is as much about politics as it is about religion. These folks want government leaders to adopt their religious vision and impose it on us all. That’s fundamentally wrong.
“The governor’s action,” she continued, “goes far beyond the generic proclamations of prayer days that many public officials issue. This is an explicit endorsement of an extreme religious-political movement. It’s appalling.”
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.