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Having given up on doing anything useful to combat COVID in his state, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced today that he was declaring Sunday to be a “statewide Day of Prayer, Humility, and Fasting.”

… we have more trials that will bring us together, and we must come together. Regardless of our backgrounds, regardless of our geography, regardless of our political views, we must come together. As we close out this year, I felt the need to go to God in prayer for our state. Ever since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve tried to hold opportunities for our fellow Mississippians to pray. To pray together so we can be together. We know that there is power in prayer. In fact, it is what God commands us to do… Today I will sign a proclamation to declare a Day of Prayer, Humility, and Fasting on this upcoming Sunday, December the 20.

As we’ve done throughout the history of this country, we will go to the Lord and ask for His protective hand over us as we conclude the year 2020 and as we enter the year 2021.

A Christian reverend then read the proclamation before leading the crowd in Christian prayer.

Because that is what unites a state and country that is increasingly non-religious.

It’s beyond ironic to thank God at a time like this, given that our greatest hope in combatting the virus came from scientists creating a vaccine and despite the worst efforts of Christian lawmakers who denied the seriousness of COVID, rejected safety precautions in the name of religious freedom, and who think God will fix a problem only after 300,000 Americans are no longer here to witness it.

Not eating food will not protect us from the virus. Neither will putting your hands together and closing your eyes while saying words no one will hear. As for humility, the last people to be speaking about it should be Republican governors who allowed the virus to spread because they refused to institute lockdowns or mask mandates. Reeves himself was planning multiple in-person holiday parties as recently as last week.

On Twitter, secular groups pointed out some of the obvious problems with Reeves’ useless proclamation:

All of this comes just days after Oklahoma’s governor did something similar. It didn’t help.

Reeves should be issuing a proclamation to honors the scientists who developed vaccines, not the God who presumably created the virus and killed off hundreds of thousands of Americans, leaving even more people suffering in the wake of their deaths.

This isn’t just a church/state separation issue. This is just incompetent governing by someone who ought to be running a church instead of a state.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.