The atheists are mad at Tom Vilsack. The Secretary of Ag can't seem to catch a break in the news...someone's always pulling out that old Pooh-Bear photo or mad at him for firing people before he knows the whole story. Now he's in trouble because he said that he's praying for rain to ease drought conditions that threaten American crop yields: “I get on my knees every day,” Vilsack said at the White House press briefing on Wednesday. “And I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”
I am not sure what the atheists are so worried about. Secretary Vilsack didn't indicate that he was praying to a deity, after all...or does "prayer" require a deity?
What if he had said he was meditating about it, or directing his personal energy toward it, or praying to the clouds or to Mother Nature? What if he was praying as many Unitarian Universalist people do, not to talk with a deity, but to center themselves and remind themselves of their place in the universe?
But assuming that he was in fact referring to prayers that he directs toward his version of a deity, who cares? He can do that. And as Ann Althouse points out, he is not trying to shift blame or evade responsibility...he is in fact stating that all he CAN do is wish/hope/pray.