Perhaps it would be worth giving up a few rights if prayer really could achieve miracles, but modern presidents rarely ask for more than generic blessings and guidance. Previous presidents had much loftier goals. For example, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed April 30, 1863, to be a "day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer" with the hopes that sufficient levels of devotions would achieve "the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace." The prayer and fasting proved so successful the Civil War ended after a mere 709 more days of death and destruction. Then Lincoln was assassinated.Like many religiously motivated laws, the statute requiring a National Day of Prayer dates to the 1950s, a time of religious encroachment stemming from years of fears about "Godless communists." In a span of four years, "In God We Trust" became the national motto, "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance and the president began the tradition of an annual National Prayer Breakfast.When it comes io religious freedom, nonbelievers are the canary in the coal mine because we are the first to have our rights violated. Yet believers should be wary of thinking that infringement will stop with atheists. Government "under God" may start with a iionsectarian Abraharnic God, but it can easily progress to a Protestant God and then to an evangelical God. Government neutrality neatly sidesteps the entire issue. If the government doesn't endorse any god, then we don't have to woiT)' about it picking the wrong one.