Prayer Police Attack National Prayer Day

There is an ancient Scottish nursery rhyme that reads:  “From Ghoulies and Ghosties and long-leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us.”  More dangerous to modern-day anti-prayer zealots than even the “ghoulies and beasties and things that go bump in the night” from which divine protection is needed, is prayer itself; or at least, voluntary prayer offered by public officials.  The latest target for the prayer police?  The National Day of Prayer, scheduled to be celebrated in Washington, DC and in communities across the country on May 6th.

Why are the these First Amendment zealots so hot under the clerical collar about National Prayer Day – something which has gone off without a hitch every year since first declared by President Harry Truman 58 years ago?  It’s hard to say, since the event is the antithesis of controversy; bringing together men and women from across the political spectrum, representing many nationalities and diverse religious faiths, for a common, and, of course, voluntary, celebration of prayer.  Notwithstanding its benign nature, this day of religious infamy now sits in the crosshairs of groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State. 

Admittedly, National Prayer Day does have a connection to the federal government.  The annual presidential proclamations are issued pursuant to a law signed by President Truman in 1952.  And therein lies its mortal sin, in the eyes of church-state purists. 

Long before 1952, however, prayer figured explicitly and sometimes prominently in matters involving our federal government.  When the very first Congress assembled in 1789, it was opened with a – gasp! – prayer.  In fact, every day of every Congress since then, has begun with a prayer delivered by a priest, pastor, rabbi, or other religious leader invited by a member of Congress to do so.  It is widely considered an honor to be so invited.

Yet, those seeking a “Chinese Wall” between any activity that is remotely religious and anything that is remotely connected to the government, are constantly casting about for new, otherwise innocuous religion-tinged events against which to file lawsuits.  The fact that President Barack Obama, like every president before him back to Truman, has denoted one day each year as a “National Day of Prayer,” apparently was just too much for the prayer police to stomach.

Thus has continued a lawsuit initially filed during the administration of Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, demanding to have National Prayer Day declared unconstitutional.  Not surprisingly, the religion separatists were able to find a federal judge – this one in Madison, Wisconsin – to agree with their myopic view of the First Amendment.  Judge Barbara Crabb did just that in a ruling earlier this month.  Graciously, the judge permitted this year’s National Prayer Breakfast in the nation’s capital (and ironically in the shadow of the National Cathedral) to go on as scheduled.

Reflecting the multi-front nature of the assault on prayer practiced by various First Amendment fanatics, another self-styled “watchdog” group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, campaigned successfully to have the Pentagon disinvite Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, to lead a military day of prayer May 6th.  The entire prayer observance was then cancelled.

It may be that all these groups just have way too much time on their hands, with nothing to do but stir up lawsuits and forum shop for judges similarly inclined.  Their motives, and the results of their efforts, however, are not so benign.  By constantly sniping at virtually any activity in which government representatives engage that might fall into the category of “religious activity” – notwithstanding it be purely voluntary and in furtherance of nothing more than attempting to foster an atmosphere of greater civility and productivity in the public arena – these prayer police are diminishing the chances that public policy debates will actually soften and become more productive.

187 comments Add your comment

Tim O'Brien

April 26th, 2010
7:01 am

Why can’t religious people comprehend that prayer should be private. Any time, even the invocation at the beginning of congressional sessions, a government official leads a prayer at a government function, that official violates the 1st Amendment

Religious views and practices are respected, but when you lead a prayer, or endorse prayer by a legislative or executive action, you are violating MY right not to have prayer forced on my by government.

The NDoP is an endorsement of religion by government.

This is a is primarily a Christian-run movement. So, for those of you who are, think about this: what if the Muslims began to out-number you? Now, you’ve opened the very door the 1st Amendment sought to close ans the Muslims could walk right in.

Sick&Tired

April 26th, 2010
7:22 am

I don’t need a national day of prayer, because I pray every day. So, your article is a bunch of hoop la about nothing. Furthermore, when I think of Franklin Graham, he’s not someone I would want leading a prayer on my behalf. Some of the things that he has said in the past are just plain hateful.

T-Town

April 26th, 2010
7:23 am

Well TO, please forward all your cash to me as “In God We Trust” is prominently displayed on the currency and I would not want you to be offended.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
7:34 am

“Any time, even the invocation at the beginning of congressional sessions, a government official leads a prayer at a government function, that official violates the 1st Amendment”

How? Who’s forcing you to bow your head and close your eyes?

Morrus

April 26th, 2010
7:35 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

nelsonhoward

April 26th, 2010
7:35 am

West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette [1943] The Supreme Court ruled that the Barnett sisters did not have to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The sisters were Jehovahs Witnesses and the religion prohited this.

!943 was wartime and the stifeling of freedom of speech, all could see the diasterous consequences. My opinion is that if there are people that are against National Prayer Day, they have every right to speak out.

The First Amendment grew out of an experience which taught that society cannot trust the conscience of a majority to keep its religious zeal within the limits that a free society can tolerate I do not think it anymore intended to leave the conscience of the minority to fix its limits. Civil Government cannot let any group ride rough-shod over others simply because their “consciences” tell them to do so. Douglas v. Jeanette 319 U.S. 157 [1943].

right

April 26th, 2010
7:38 am

National day of prayer is, to me, not that big of a deal because it doesn’t really affect anybody personally. Do it or don’t. However, praying in schools during staff meetings should not be allowed. I believe it is against the law but people do it anyway…and that becomes personal.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 26th, 2010
7:39 am

Well argued. I respectfully suggest to Tim @ 7:01 and Sick @ 7:22 that a collection of believers celebrating public prayer offers no threat to secularists nor anyone else who chooses to not participate. Beware those who would control the thoughts of others.

Jonathan Nichols

April 26th, 2010
7:43 am

@Tim O’Brien,

I have yet to see a prayer be lead in which a gun (or other device that says your life is in danger) is used to coerce one to participate in any prayer by any governmental body of people. Additionally, the 1st amendment against an establishment of religion is more so that the government will not establish a national religion such as the Church of England. This prevents the government from being able to imprison you for not having the same belief system (which is the primary reason many came to the new land i.e Puritans). It also allows for you to walk out on any assembly where someone may open with a prayer that you disagree with.

Thank you for assuming that all Christians have their own religious self-interest in mind. While I do know of Christians who would be more than glad to see that their religion is the only one practiced, I believe that there is an overwhelming majority of Christians who would be just a fine to see that even if another group took the majority control that they too would be able to openly practice their religious beliefs as long as those Christians were also able to practice their beliefs (much like Barr mentioned in his article about multi-faith Congressional openings).

Bubba

April 26th, 2010
7:47 am

“Any time, even the invocation at the beginning of congressional sessions, a government official leads a prayer at a government function, that official violates the 1st Amendment”

Tim, can you cite exactly what part of the First Amendment that violates? Quote the exact wording, please. If you don’t know it, you can google it.

Troy Moss

April 26th, 2010
7:53 am

your “ancient” beliefs are what fly people into buildings and motivate people to strap explosives to themselves. why would anyone vote for someone with an imaginary friend that tells them what’s right and wrong? i want to vote for someone that is upfront with their beliefs and doesn’t have the option of “praying about it” to shirk responsibility when something goes wrong. and calling someone who stands up for our first amendment rights a “zealot”?! i think you’re way off base on this one, but it’s nice to know you would ignore the first amendment rights of the american people.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
7:55 am

“but it’s nice to know you would ignore the first amendment rights of the american people.”

Who’s forcing you to participate. Is someone putting a gun to your head? Please dial 9-1-1 if this is happening. If not, shut up.

Aquagirl

April 26th, 2010
7:58 am

I think a national day of prayer is a fine idea, as long as cthulu and the flying spaghetti monster are included.

T-Town

April 26th, 2010
8:03 am

What is amazing is what happened in Vietnam during a firefight. All the atheist were praying like hell and only stopped when the fighting ceased. Never could figure that one out.

jg

April 26th, 2010
8:07 am

Why to people become so paranoid and upset concerning prayer? They are not praying that anything bad can happen – just praying to God to ask Him for wisdom for our leaders – protection for our troops – guidance in all of our lives – forgiveness for what this country has done and the mistakes we have made. You do not need a National Day of Prayer – lots of people pray every day!

Mitch

April 26th, 2010
8:07 am

and i thought you were a libertarian! :-(

TnGelding

April 26th, 2010
8:08 am

Tim O’Brien

April 26th, 2010
7:01 am

Well put. I’m surprised our host doesn’t see it that way.

Stick to the FACTS

April 26th, 2010
8:08 am

Until recently, we didn’t need freedom from religion in America; it was already guaranteed in the U. S. Constitution.

But, religion has been high jacked by the right wing republicans. They pick and choose which the parts they like and ignore the rest.

Religion has no place in government or politics and should be separated by a wall as they founders intended.

We have seen the horrors committed in the name of religion by the fanatics around the world and here in America. So yes, we do need protection from this divisive and destructive ritual.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
8:11 am

TnGelding – Since you agree w/ Tim O’Brien, can you answer my 7:34 question?

Deanna

April 26th, 2010
8:22 am

Bob forget to tell you all one thing, and that omission was the entire reason for the cancellation.

For some reason, some Christians just can’t seem to play nice together on a national day of prayer, wanting to call other religions bad names and trying to create hate.

So we have a minister trying to create hate on a national day of prayer. It kind of goes against the whole reason for prayer.

So, we have people most offended by cancellation of a national day of prayer complaining because they got caught for creating the situation causing the cancellation.

And all they had to do was to follow their religious leader’s direction instead of following their own egocentric ideas of what they think their religion says.

DavidEm

April 26th, 2010
8:23 am

Let’s have a National Astrology Day, and a National Goat Entrail Reading Day, as well. And, of course, we should revive the Biblically sound practice of animal sacrifice. On a National level, of course.

TnGelding

April 26th, 2010
8:26 am

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
8:11 am

Prayer is a private matter. Government officials should not be showing preference for any religion by displaying their own publicly. Some politicians flaunt it like they’re the true believers and the others are false. I was surprised and pleased to see a recent poll that indicated most of us don’t think that way. Respect for other cultures and religions will go a long way in improving our standing in the world.

As I posted earlier:

Matthew 6:5-6: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men….when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret….”

Amen!

Stand up for what you believe

April 26th, 2010
8:26 am

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…participating in a prayer event does not a law make! The whole idea of “separation of church and state” is a farce. The whole idea of this was so that the government could not intrude on any religious activity NOT the other way around. Have we already forgotten why the Pilgrims came here in the first place? It is sad that the Washington today has not the foggiest clue what the Washington back then was creating and protecting. We think we are “so” smart today…really? Look around and see where all this “progress” has gotten us. Prayer DOES change things…it is not a benign act, people (who don’t like it) are uncomfortable around it for a reason; and a good one at that. To get this great country of ours back on track we need a National Year of Prayer!

Noah

April 26th, 2010
8:33 am

We are becoming a nation of pansies (rhymes with wussy) where you can’t offend anyone’s sensibilities anymore. Eventually we will work God and prayer out of our societal realm. Then when disaster hits (hmmm…like Katrina) everyone asks…”Where was God…how could he let this happen?” Be careful waht you ask for.

Monroe Burbank

April 26th, 2010
8:39 am

I’m still trying to get my arms around this new-found love and respect for the constitution by conservatives and convervative groups like this teabag thing. “Honor the Constitution” seems to be their saying of the week. I can’t imagine a conservative just waking up one day and proclaiming “Today I’m going to start honoring the constitution!”

Constitution honorers know that every card carrying member of the ACLU is their best friend. After all, the ACLU’s whole purpose in life is to defend the constitution. Constitution honorers will fight to their dying breath to keep prayer out of public schools. Seeing religious symbols on state or federal property, like a nativity scene on the front lawn of a courthouse, really rubs them them wrong way.

Now, all of that said. Will every conservative who still wants to honor the constitution raise your hand. That’s what I thought.

Sam ( The Cool 1 )

April 26th, 2010
8:40 am

Some trust in the Army,Navy, Marines,Coast Guard, and Air Force. Some of us also trust in God,the Bible,Church,Charity and Prayer Force.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
8:47 am

September 19 is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”. 9/11 is “National Day of Service”, and the third Sunday in July is the “National Ice Cream Day”. So where’s the outrage? The National Day of Prayer is our constitutional right. Those opposed to it forget that this country was founded so that people could practice their religion freely.

Tyler Durden

April 26th, 2010
8:51 am

Arguing with Conservatives is like arguing with roadkill. It never leads anywhere, and all that will happen is you end up smelling like them, which is what they wanted all along.

Ideology: replacing conscious thought in the Right since the dark ages…

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
8:53 am

And the Constitution does not declare us a religion free country, as Tim suggests. If you would read the Constitution and quit parroting what “everyone” says, the amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. So how do you defend banning a day of prayer based on the first amendment?

Rightfielder

April 26th, 2010
8:55 am

I admire Dr. Franklin Graham very much, but if it’s my intention to lead a group to pray for our nation, I would ask someone else. Unfortunately these Days of Prayer are more about public relations than prayer. Jesus said we should go into our closets to pray, not the onto the national stage.

OS

April 26th, 2010
9:00 am

Isn’t religion a private matter? Isn’t prayer a moment of reflection between a person and their deity? Didn’t Jesus preach against the Pharisees who insisted on praying loudly in public for everyone to see? Why is it that some Christians feel that because they subscribe to a certain belief system, the rest of us should to? Jesus taught that the way to bring others to Christianity is by living as a Christian, not telling everyone how THEY should live.

Christianity isn’t the problem. It’s the warped view of the faith by some of its so-called believers who believe they should dictate how everyone else lives. Government should be free from religion, period. National day of prayer, “under God” in the pledge, and yes, let’s take it off the money too. Perhaps some of us don’t trust in God? Better still, what happens when Christian God is in the minority? I must only assume you people defending the national day of prayer wouldn’t mind praying on a rug facing Mecca if Muslims one day find themselves in the majority.

att

April 26th, 2010
9:04 am

I think the “anti-prayer” movement has less to do with the aversion to prayer as it does the aversion to government sponsored and paid-for events (which would include the Pentagon breakfast) having someone like Franklin Graham to lead the prayer and pray openly over those as a Christian (and one who professes to believe that those who practice Islam are purveyors of the devil) at that breakfast when, if what you say is accurate, people of many faiths are invited to the event. I have no problem having government sponsored events begin with a moment of silence so everyone at the event (and whose tax dollars assisted in the payment for the event and or the place where it is being held regardless of their religious beliefs) can pray to the God of their choice, or merely contemplate their navels should they have no belief system. However, if I am Jewish, Islam, Buddhist, Shinto or of some other (or no) faith, I should not have to be proselytized to by someone from the purported “majority” Christian religion who prays to a God through Jesus Christ. I am a practicing Christian, by the way. I believe in Christ’s exhortations to show our love and faith in him through loving God and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 25:31-46). There is more than one way to “spread the good news” of the resurrection. Feed the homeless, clothe the naked, help and support the oppressed, care for the dying, visit the imprisoned. Think Mother Teresa. She didn’t proselytize. She cared for the sick, dying and the poor as Christ has asked us to do in his name. Ramming one religion’s particular belief structure down the throats of others who do not share that belief is only going to cause dissension, not evoke love and fellowship. It was also the intent of James Madison, who wrote the Bill of Rights and penned the First Amendment. Believe what you wish. Go to church. Teach your children at home and at the church of your choice the beliefs you wish them to have. Practice your faith as you deem fit. The First Amendment guarantees you that right, and without government interference. It also guarantees that same right to everyone else, and the right of others who do not share your believes not to be subject to them through the government, regardless of how the government is involved – whether taxpayer funds are used for time, place, or event.

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
9:06 am

Soooooo…..Would all of the Bible thumpers be OK if there was a National day of Prayer to say….Allah or Buddda?????

AddGunsToThisMix

April 26th, 2010
9:11 am

Quote Bob “Notwithstanding its benign nature, this day of religious infamy now sits in the crosshairs of groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State.” You just knew “Impeachable Bob” would add guns and shooting to another non-issue.

M

April 26th, 2010
9:11 am

I openly invite all the religious people to pray that every case of cancer in the world be cured on the National Day of Prayer.

Let me know how it works out.

JLD

April 26th, 2010
9:12 am

Georgia—-the state of hypocracy, I’m so tired of the Southern “do as I say, not as I do mentality.

John K

April 26th, 2010
9:13 am

It’s sad, that our churches and the religious home life of our citizens is so weak, that the only way people can pray anymore is by national proclamation!

The real issue is, the people for it, are looking to get their reward here on earth. Either they can be looked at so amazingly devout, or modern day martyrs because others suggest they convene with their God in private, as he himself suggested.

And Bob, just drop that Libertarian BS once and for all.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
9:14 am

Do you people have sex in public?

Why in the world would you want to do something so very personal and so very intimate and so very revealing and primal in front of everyone or WITH everyone?

And prayer is even more so.

I don’t want to pray with you if I don’t know you. I dont’ want to see you pray. If you’re an exhibitionist then I guess you need to pray in full exposure every now and then, but please don’t make it a holiday.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 26th, 2010
9:14 am

Looks like the Obama-expulsion of Dr. Franklin Graham from the military’s celebration of the”national day of prayer” may be a topic here today. I would agree with those who say Dr. Graham’s comments were hurtful; I would disagree with those who say his comments were untruthful. Sometimes you have to call evil by its name, as a form of exorcism. Surely we would all wish that the good Muslims of the world would exorcise the evil in their midst.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
9:19 am

Wait…*Noah* talks about the nation being a bunch of pansies (rhymes with wussies) and then in the same breath mentions God?

Really?

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
9:20 am

“Soooooo…..Would all of the Bible thumpers be OK if there was a National day of Prayer to say….Allah or Buddda?????”

If you haven’t noticed, the National Day of Prayer is for ALL religions.

TINSTAAFL

April 26th, 2010
9:22 am

TnGelding

Are you and everybody who uses Matthew 6:5-6 as an argument against the national day of prayer that dumb? Are you really that much of an intellectual moron that you can’t grasp the actual meaning of those two verses? Are you really blinded so much by your seething hate for everything non-secular that you shut off the majority of the synapses within your brains to come to such a stupid conclusion?
That verse is about calling the Pharisees out for false piety. It is not a literal command that you should never pray in public or in groups. If that were the meaning, then every pastor or priest would be sinning on Sunday as they lead the congregation in prayer. So once again, are you really that stupid? It’s guarding agains the kinds of public prayer the pharisees gave. A pharisee would stand in a public square and begin praying for all to hear: “Thank you God, that I am not a sinner like all of these people around me.” False-piety. Leading others in prayer and worship is not forbidden whatsoever in the bible.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
9:26 am

TINSTAAFL: Well said. Those who quote those verses are parroting what everybody says, obviously never having read the original scripture verses in context. Jesus was not at all saying one should not pray in public, but was talking about those who publicly prayed so that their peers would think they were pious and righteous.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
9:30 am

No, Gracie, TINSTAAFL is not well said. He/she was terribly nasty. Way to go. Call people dumb/stupid/moronic while defending your faith.

FAIL.

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
9:35 am

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
9:20 am

You are not being honest!!! You know as well as I do that if an Iman stood on the National mall and Prayed to Allah, the bible beaters on the right would loose their ever loving minds!!!!!

Splavistic

April 26th, 2010
9:36 am

Yeah, so if a satanist was to hold a ritualistic ‘prayer’ so that everyone else had to hear it, would that be ok with you, Bobby?

TINSTAAFL

April 26th, 2010
9:38 am

iRun

No. Asking whether he’s stupid is a completely legitimate question. I completely fail to understand how somebody could so obviously take verses out of context, and read so much into them as to make something like pastors leading prayer sinful. Either he is deliberately twisting scripture for his own purposes, or he is an unfortunate moron. If it’s the latter, perhaps he should refrain from blogging.

M

April 26th, 2010
9:40 am

It’s always amusing to see people say that certain bible quotes were ONLY intended for the people standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF Jesus, while other verses so OBVIOUSLY pertain to everyone.

DavidEm

April 26th, 2010
9:44 am

Yes! A Government-sponsored Day of Mystical Begging.

(I love the writer who threatened a KATRINA if we don’t.)

Bubba

April 26th, 2010
9:45 am

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
9:06 am

Soooooo…..Would all of the Bible thumpers be OK if there was a National day of Prayer to say….Allah or Buddda?????

LOL! There already is. National Day of Prayer is nondenominational.

John K

April 26th, 2010
9:45 am

You’re right M, they’re all salad bar Christians, although they won’t admit it.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
9:47 am

Bob, what part of “…Admittedly, National Prayer Day does have a connection to the federal government…” is subject to wiggle room. You blather on and on about the every-growing, ever-encroaching nanny state, but you’ll allow Big Government a Mulligan when it comes to prayer and religion? Prayer is perhaps the most PRIVATE of issues (even more than homosexual in the military or warrantless searches of laptops). Prayer should remain in the home and in the church, temple, synagogue or Wiccan circle of rocks.

John K

April 26th, 2010
9:49 am

But neo-Carlinist, if they’re not out there showing everyone how devout they are, how would anyone know? Apparently convening privately with God is not enough, we all need to see it.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
9:51 am

TINSTAAFL, you must think I’m stupid if you think I will buy your argument.

Admit it…you were busted behaving like a human, letting the darker side of your (ours, all) human nature to control you, when you felt the very thing you use to make you a better human was being threatened. And you know in doing so you’ve sullied it yourself, more so than those you fight.

You may believe one thing about that verse and TN may believe another. Neither of you really know the truth. You weren’t there. You only have your beliefs, your faith, to sustain you. And it should sustain you alone. You cannot use it to sustain itself.

Chris Broe

April 26th, 2010
9:52 am

Why stop with banning national prayer? Why not scrutinize the easily-crashed white house dinner party’s menu for angel food cake?

Seriously, there’s nothing to say about the NDOP that doesn’t make one sound like a bigot, (or an idiot as I so clearly demonstrated above). It’s like when diners make a big production out of saying grace in restaurants afore they eats. A television show called the Waltons depicted a family holding hands during grace. Nuns don’t even do that in restaurants, yet some staunch catholics will, and then give you the devil if you object. If there was ever a better reason for the existence of lemon meringue pie…….

They say everybody prays in a foxhole. Many people consider 911’s Ground Zero to be a national cathedral. Some folks think that worship is a vital and natural part of human nature, like breathing. The ten commandments are a civil code as well as a moral guideline. Theologists now think that Christ didn’t write the famous “Lords Prayer”, that some poetic genius wrote it in the second century. Thus, if prayer afficianados can’t agree on what constitutes a prayer, then how can sectarian-derived political parties?

The inscription on our money, “in God we trust”, is supposedly there for the poetic merit. (Maybe Christ wrote THAT one). If there is a fiscal message then perhaps it suggests that you better pay your damn bills if you want credit, because God wont pay them for you. or something. Maybe it’s like that old joke, “in God we trust….all others pay cash.”

Why don’t we start another left-right feud over prayer? At least we’ll know who the heretics are. Me? I’ll pray for financial reform to protect us from the Goldman Sach-rilegious Right and hope they get some kind of reincarnative retribution during upcoming life cycles…….

Now it’s on to Arizona and we’ll pray for retribution there……..

Stick to the FACTS

April 26th, 2010
9:56 am

Every religious group has their own customs. But in America, only Christian beliefs are being forced on the rest of us. Christians would never stand for a Muslim Day of Prayer or Atheists Day.

Why do they think it’s OK to force others to accept their customs or even respect them if they discriminate against the non-believers? If you don’t think it’s forced – Try objecting to these group prayers and see how quick you’re out of the group, the school or even a job.

John K

April 26th, 2010
10:01 am

I see no problem with someone saying Grace at a restaurant. If they don’t disturb any other customer, then whatever.

It’s the action of some Christians, who tend to feel they have the default belief everyone else must follow. What we are seeing more of, is a temper tantrum by some in the majority who can’t stand it that those with other beliefs are finally speaking up. The Constitution protects all, not the majority.

TINSTAAFL

April 26th, 2010
10:02 am

iRun

I’ll admit that the completely uneducated things that non-Christians repeatedly try to pull off deeply angers me. When people try to cherry pick scripture, disregard all context, and then twist it to suit their earthly needs, that angers me. Pray (pun intended) tell, why is it a bad thing that liars anger me?

You then say, “You may believe one thing about that verse and TN may believe another. Neither of you really know the truth. You weren’t there. You only have your beliefs, your faith, to sustain you. And it should sustain you alone. You cannot use it to sustain itself.”

See, and that is where you are wrong, and TnGelding is a liar. I sure wasn’t there, but I can easily infer meaning through context. Here is the verse he cited including the context.

1″Beware of(A) practicing your righteousness before other people in order(B) to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2(C) “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may(D) be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have(E) received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret.(F) And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5″And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love(G) to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.(H) Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray,(I) go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.(J) And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7″And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as(K) the Gentiles do, for(L) they think that they will be heard(M) for their many words. 8Do not be like them,(N) for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Using the context of the verses in question, it is plainly clear that the behavior being admonished is false piety to suit your own needs. Once again, do you really think that all pastors and priests are sinners for leading prayer? TnGelding is a liar, and you’re uncomfortable with the fact that I called him out on it.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:03 am

“But in America, only Christian beliefs are being forced on the rest of us.”

To you and others on here thinking something is “forced” – who’s holding a gun to your head? I would really like to know so I can call the proper authorities for you since you can’t do it yourself.

M

April 26th, 2010
10:08 am

TINSTAAFL,

Are you trying to help or hurt your cause?

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
10:12 am

oh, and methinks Bob may actually be a double agent (a secularist in praying man’s clothing). he begins his missive by loosley equating an ancient scottish nursery rhyme with prayer. hmmph? maybe he’s right. we can have a National Day of Nursery Rhymes next.

Peter Haskett

April 26th, 2010
10:14 am

If any public function is open with a prayer, then my 1st amendment rights are violated. The others who bow and pray put peer pressure on the others who prefer to keep religion a private matter. That peer pressure is all the violation needed. This includes sessions of Congress. If Washington began the 1st session with prayer it was political expediency and illustrates that not everyone was accepting of the 1st amendment more than it does Washington’s religiousness. Here’s hoping NDoP is determined unconstitutional and it continues with the pledge of allegiance. Get your deity out of our national polity! If you want to pray, do it at church.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:16 am

“If any public function is open with a prayer, then my 1st amendment rights are violated.”

Oh my goodness…another one. Please answer my 10:03 please. If you don’t want to bow your head and close your eyes, then don’t. Good grief people…..

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
10:19 am

Peter: Why do your rights supersede mine to practice my faith openly and freely and without impediment — the very reason the Pilgrims sailed the ocean blue and founded this new nation?

iRun

April 26th, 2010
10:21 am

TINSTAAFL – it’s Scripture. So it was written long ago by men who are long dead and who spoke a different language. It’s been re-written and translated several times. We do not know the original words or intent.

We interpret the words as they make sense to us. To you they clearly mean that public prayer is okay so long as it’s sincerely prayer and not false piety. To TN he sees it differntly, though I cannot speak for him as to what it means for him.

Full disclosure: I am a sort-of deist/agnostic, myself, so I am not Christian or even a believer in any traditional religion and I am not at all compelled by man-made and man-led faith. I commune with my faith mostly when I am out running a long, long run. Nothing like dealing with demons at mile 30 when you really, really want to stop.

But, hey, it works for me. I would never tell you, or anyone else, that the only path to enlightenment/Heaven/God/etc is to run 30 miles. It works for ME.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
10:25 am

Peadawg – stop with the gun to the head argument. Coercion takes many forms…and you know it.

The point is, and you know it, that Americans should proudly support individual freedoms, not mob rule. This sort of thing is not it. Especially telling people to shut up about it.

You should always feel free to pray. But it should never be institutionalized in government.

As I asked earlier? Do you have sex in public?

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
10:27 am

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:16 am

Tell us… How long would it take you to get to the school if the Local football game was opened by a prayer from a satinist and how much hell would you raise???? ( Pun intended)

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:27 am

“Peadawg – stop with the gun to the head argument.”

Then you and others stop saying your forced when you’re not.

“Do you have sex in public?”

No, that’s public indecency if I’m not mistaken and it’s against the law. You want to outlaw public prayer? Good luck!

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:28 am

“Tell us… How long would it take you to get to the school if the Local football game was opened by a prayer from a satinist and how much hell would you raise???? ( Pun intended)”

I’d go for the football game which is a great american past-time and not participate in the prayer if don’t want to. Is that so hard? Good grief.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
10:31 am

iRun: You are thoughtful and intelligent and well-spoken. I say this with all the love I can muster for someone I do not know. If you would seriously research the Bible by taking a non-denominational Bible study, you would be amazed to find how much you do not understand, and how much of it makes an incredible amount of sense once you’ve studied it. May I recommend bsfinternational.org — a serious study for serious people.

TINSTAAFL

April 26th, 2010
10:34 am

iRun

Hey, if that works for you all power to ya. It’s no business of mine. But I’m not arguing that TnGelding even sees his view as an interpretation. He picked two verses completely out of context of scripture, and then twisted them towards his own means. Either through maliciousness or ignorance of the surrounding context, he completely ignored clarifying context set around those verses. That isn’t a view, it’s lying by omission.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
10:38 am

Gracie, thank you for your kind words and the suggestion. I should mention that I am not stranger to organized faiths or the Bible. I grew up in a family that did, and still does, closely practice and study their faith. However, I abandoned it some years ago. I did not decide it was bupkus, just not for me. And not for others, apparently. But it’s for some, and that’s fine, and it should be available to those who need it or want it. But not for me.

Peadawg – you’re avoiding a real discussion. You pretend you don’t know what someone means so you won’t have to talk about it. I tried to engage you but you won’t capitulate. Realize, though, that for you it means you are increasingly shouting into a dark, empty room.

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
10:41 am

iRun

April 26th, 2010
10:38 am

Very well put…..

iRun

April 26th, 2010
10:42 am

TINSTAAFL – we will have to agree to disagree. Until TN comes back to defend his stance I cannot address it further. And it never was my place to do so. I took exception to your approach given the topic.

I still think you are taking your stance as a “fact” or a “truth” when it’s not possible to do so with Scripture, being what it is. And that does make it hard to form a discussion with people who believe differently.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:45 am

“Peadawg – you’re avoiding a real discussion”

I answered your question, “Do you have sex in public”. You don’t like my answer so you insult me. Who’s avoiding here? How about you answer my question as I answered yours? Do you want to outlaw public prayer?

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
10:48 am

iRun: I hear ya. I’m not a fan of denominations myself. But I would suspect that you, as most of us were, introduced and familiarized with the Bible in Sunday School where you were taught what it said — not taught how to study it for yourself AS AN ADULT to determine what it says. I found that I carried around a whole lot of misconceptions and mischaracterizations that I wasn’t sure where they came from.

dylandawg

April 26th, 2010
10:52 am

The gun to the head arguement is silly. Calling things voluntary is inaccurate. . In the wrong setting with your job, social life, academic standing on the line….voluntary is not the word I would use. It is not hard to imagine situations where this is true.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
10:53 am

Peadawg – you are still avoiding the real discussion by pruning the branches off the trees.

But I will bite one more time…

Do I want to outlaw public prayer?

What does that mean? I’m not sure what you mean by it but I certainly do not want prayer institutionalized. Individuals should be free to pray, certainly, and whereever they want. Despite my personal opinion that prayer, like sex, is extremely private and intimate and I am uncomfortable watching anyone engage in either….depsite this if someone wants to pray in public then no law should prevent them.

But I am against prayer being institutionalized, mandated, or even authorized and sanctioned by my government and the individuals who we hire to run it.

No prayer in public institutions by public officials representing them.

M

April 26th, 2010
10:57 am

I’ve studied the Bible. Too much rape, murder, genocide, and out-and-out contradiction to be taken seriously. A few nuggets of wisdom, to be sure (Do unto others…), but the Bible doesn’t have a monopoly on those.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2010
10:59 am

” then no law should prevent them.”

Then stop comparing sex and prayer.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
11:04 am

Peadawg – I don’t understand what you mean by your last post.

CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE

April 26th, 2010
11:07 am

THERE IS A PRAYER EVERY DAY FOR COMBAT MISSIONS….PRAY FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR TROOPS…….LIBERALs………..Geeeeeeeeeeet A life……GET A LIFE…

Elephant Whip

April 26th, 2010
11:07 am

As for Jesus’ discussion of prayer in public, here’s another thing to consider in interpreting his message as it may apply today.

Jesus was referring to public prayer within a theocratic society governed by the Sanhedrin, which was the civil governing body working under the authority of the high priest of the Temple. Now, if Jesus was telling someone not to pray publicly (to show off praying skills and wealthy donations) within a completely theocratic, homogenous socio-religious culture, how should his message be read in a pluralistic society with a government purposefully separated from any theological (or anti-theological) positions?

Jesus obviously was not talking about prayer within the synagogue, because he participated in synagogue activities himself (and stirred up a ruckus in his hometown with one of his scriptural readings), so perhaps he was referring to politically minded prayer (the Pharisees were one party within the Sandhedrin and believed in prayer and supernatural things, the other party, the Sadduccees did not believe in the supernatural as much) in Jerusalem.

Just something to think about in reflecting on the nature of the National Day of Prayer as it relates to Jesus’ sermon.

Another thing: to Peadawg and those sharing his view: you would honestly sit there and let a Muslim cleric lead National Day of Prayer with a prayer toward Mecca prayed in Arabic? I don’t think so. Were Islam the majority’s religion in this country, you all would be leading an armed rebellion.

CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE

April 26th, 2010
11:09 am

LIBERALs do offer amusung comments…….intellectually void…..but amusing…like a circus clown

CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE

April 26th, 2010
11:11 am

LIBERALs ARE COURT CLOWNs…….LIBERALs are idiots..

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
11:12 am

M, but you’re missing the point. Yes, there are accounts of rape, murder and other unsavory acts and unlikeable people recounted for us in the Bible. But the point of these accounts is to show (a) that no one is beyond redemption or counted as unlovable by God and/or (b) denying and disobeying God does have consequences. How encouraging to know that if God can forgive and then use a murderer for something amazingly good, that then He can certainly forgive and use me, too! And although this venue is not the place for a Bible study, truly, there are no contradictions contained if you understand the context of the account being read.

Aquagirl

April 26th, 2010
11:17 am

The All-American Combat Prayer: “Dear Jesus, let me blast that other guy’s head clean off his shoulders without him returning the favor. Amen.”

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
11:20 am

Peadawg, your position is weak. IF you offer people the “right” to no pray, then why does the government need to endorse the process (with its own day, no less)? I say, if you’re hanging out in the U.S. Capitol, or the Pentagon, or the White House, or wherever; pray if you want to pray, or remain silent if you want to remain silent. This is the true essence of the First Amendment and the establishment clause. namely, that people who are inclined to pray do not need the permission of the Federal Government. Nor should elected officials or bureacrats WASTE time engaged in rituals, which are not, as Bob notes, related to the operation or administration of the government.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
11:24 am

Christian Conservative, you are neither

kdjg

April 26th, 2010
11:26 am

the government is trying to expand on the cradle to grave program by promising you eternal life if you pray.

Jefferson

April 26th, 2010
11:26 am

Long as it goes my way.

M

April 26th, 2010
11:27 am

Gracie,

God was DOING the murdering and ordering the rape.

kdjg

April 26th, 2010
11:29 am

M – there is no passage in the bible that contradicts another passage.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
11:35 am

M, you still misunderstand. God judges evil, and He never ordered a rape. Please show me verse.

Rational Person

April 26th, 2010
11:38 am

Jonathan Nichols
April 26th, 2010
7:43 am

@Tim O’Brien,

I have yet to see a prayer be lead in which a gun (or other device that says your life is in danger) is used to coerce one to participate in any prayer by any governmental body of people.

——————-

Well, maybe not a gun, but kids in school have been beaten up by their little Christian classmates for not joining in on a prayer. When I was in a public high school, we had our dose of Southern Baptist doctrine on the PA system every morning, and there was nothing voluntary about it.

Jefferson said a lot of things about a wall between church and state, but I guess righties only like old TJ when he talks about the right to bear arms.

Rational Person

April 26th, 2010
11:41 am

kdjg
April 26th, 2010
11:29 am

M – there is no passage in the bible that contradicts another passage.

——————

Genesis gives two slightly different versions of the creation myth.

When Henry VIII wanted to marry Catherine of Aragon, he found a Bible verse that said it was a man’s duty to marry his brother’s widow. When he wanted to dump her and marry Anne Boleyn, he found another verse saying that it was a horrible sin to do that.

Just two examples.

Diogenes

April 26th, 2010
11:42 am

Mr Barr,

You ask the question “Why are the [sic.]these First Amendment zealots so hot under the clerical collar about National Prayer Day?” I would think the answer should be obvious even to you. Religion has infiltrated government to such a degree that government can no longer serve its proper function of preventing the strong from abusing the weak. Eliminating National Prayer Day and the National Prayer Breakfast would be mere reminders that our government is secular and needs to remain so for the benefit of all the people.

Rational Person

April 26th, 2010
11:46 am

Gracie
April 26th, 2010
11:35 am

M, you still misunderstand. God judges evil, and He never ordered a rape. Please show me verse.

——————

If not rape, how about mass murder?

1 Samuel 15:2-3: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Even the donkeys.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
11:47 am

RP — I think you’re contradicting yourself in trying to show a contradiction. The operative words in your remarks are “widow” and “dump her”.

Rational Person

April 26th, 2010
11:51 am

Gracie, what you’re saying here makes no sense whatever.

Marcos

April 26th, 2010
11:59 am

The far right extremists in this country have perverted the true tenets of Christianity. God weeps at your hypocrisy and hatred.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

Sorry, RP. It made perfect sense to me, LOL. What I meant to say is that God had a provision for the continuation of the family lines in Israel, and that if a man died leaving his wife childless, his brother was obliged to continue the family line for the deceased. Quite a different matter from dumping one’s wife in favor of another, as you indicated with King Henry and Anne Boleyn.

And the Amalekites were evil people. God is perfectly qualified to judge evil as He sees fit. In His omniscience, He knows unregenerate evil when He sees it.

Gator Joe

April 26th, 2010
12:14 pm

Bob:
I don’t hear any similar complaints when, for example, the NRA people protest any reasonable restriction on the use and possesion of firearms. They, like the “Strict Separation of Church and State” people, fear any government involement will lead to extreme government involvement. In both cases, some of the concern is unfounded.

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
12:37 pm

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

So the women, children and even the donkeys were evil????

JTex

April 26th, 2010
12:49 pm

I would find Mr. Barr’s plea for acceptance more meaningful were it not for his active attempts to repress the practice of religions he finds distasteful by members of the Armed Services. It is more than mildly hypocritical to accuse the “Prayer Police” of being religiously intolerant when the person making the accusation is, himself, religiously intolerant.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
12:53 pm

Udder Side: Well, evil is certainly not confined to grown men. God commanded them to purge evil from the land, and purge they certainly did.

But as to little children and donkeys, I agree with you that it sounds odd and severe, and I can’t explain it. I am certainly no theologian or expert in any of this, and I would have to defer to someone wiser than I am. I do know that I believe that my God is always fair, always just, always holy, and always knows what is needed. I also know that His ways are not my ways. If I could understand God, then I’d be God and not Him. Some things we just can’t comprehend.

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
1:01 pm

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
12:53 pm

I fully respect and understand your position, and that kind of leads me to my original question…why is it that Christians want and expect everyone to respect and not condem them for their beliefs, but they find it sooooo hard to acknowledge that respect the fact that some others don’t believe the same things ( or in some cases, nothing at all)

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
1:01 pm

say “good night Gracie”. the State of Israel was formed in 1948. there was no “Israel” when the urban myth to which you refer originated. the Old Testament itself was passed on from generation to generation for hundreds of years before it was documented (Dead Sea Scrolls), and even then, what you or anybody else reads NOW, has been sliced, diced, edited and enhanced to suit the political whims of whomever was presenting it as “Gospel” (pun intended). EVERY god “had a plan” and surprisingly enough, these plans have human fingerprints all over them.

Thomas

April 26th, 2010
1:08 pm

I think I’ll pray for all of you.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
1:11 pm

Neo: The people, the 12 children and subsequent ancestors of the man named Israel, are called Israel, not the political creation of a State of Israel. I don’t believe any of it is an urban myth or sliced or diced or edited. In fact, you would be amazed at how much the new translations are faithful to the original texts, even though our abilities at translating ancient languages has improved significantly over the years. We may decide that there’s a more accurate or equivalent word as our abilities at translating improve.

Udder Side: Actually, I don’t find it hard at all to understand that everyone does not believe or want to believe the same things I do, and that may be a secular exaggeration of what true Christians desire for people they know. A very pale analogy would be that if I discovered I could cut my grocery bill by three-fourths by using a certain couponing system, my excitement and desire to help others would cause me to be very vocal about sharing how awesome it is. You don’t have to use my couponing system. But you sure would love it if you did, I just know it!

Peter Haskett

April 26th, 2010
1:13 pm

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Just to clarify to those who wish to inject your christianism onto others. If a session of Congress starts off with a prayer, then by conduct, Congress is legislating a state sponsored religion. Furthermore, if the leader of said prayer and participants therein perform the ritualistic gestures of prayer while someone else chooses not to, then the person who chooses not to might be judged as not ascribing to Congress’ religion. The result could be giving the non-participants’ opinions less credibility, impeding their jurisdictions’ equal representation, but most importantly, prohibiting that person from from freely exercising his/her religion. Peer pressure is all that is needed to prohibit one from freely practicing his/her religion. If one feels compelled to conform to the group or be ignored, chastised, or judged by the group, then his/her free exercise of religion has been violated.

Your bible gives you an international day of prayer every week. Why not leave well enough alone?

David Patton

April 26th, 2010
1:38 pm

All the people running around screaming about separation of church and state need to read their history books. Then they will discover that what the separation of church and state does is prohibit the establishment of a single, government-mandated religion to the exclusion of all other religions. It is perfectly legal to have a National Day of Prayer to encourage people of ALL religions to pray, or to have a Nativity scene, or any other display commemorating a religious event, regardless of the religion.

Noah

April 26th, 2010
1:48 pm

iRun – Sorry I mis-typed. I meant to say damn pansies (rhymes with wussies). The concept is over your pay grade so don’t try and figure it out. God Bless you.

Kev

April 26th, 2010
1:51 pm

If people want a National Day of Prayer, prayer before sessions of Congress, prayer in public schools, etc…, fine. Then let’s start taxing churches and see how fast they start screaming about the separation of church and state.

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
1:52 pm

David Patton

April 26th, 2010
1:38 pm

So if a self described member of the taliban wanted to have a prayer vigil on the state capitol lawn, You would be Ok with that????

iRun

April 26th, 2010
2:02 pm

Noah – is there a point to being so snarky? If the concept is “above my pay grade” then are you implying that it’s not above yours and that makes you…what?

M

April 26th, 2010
2:15 pm

When given the proof, it helps to be able to say, “I don’t understand that, but I’m sure God had a reason for it.”

Even if we’re talking about killing donkeys, murdering the first-born, using bears to kill youths that made fun of someone’s baldness, etc.

It all makes perfect sense until it doesn’t, and then it’s not supposed to. TA-DA

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

And in some cases, we’re told not to cast our pearls before swine . . . I suppose the modern-day equivalent would be: Never try to teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work, and it only annoys the pig.”

Some believe, some never will. And God knows which are which.

iRun

April 26th, 2010
2:36 pm

Gracie, my question would be….if God does know, does he really care? Does he have the human emotion of anger or disappointment? Or is he even paying attention?

M

April 26th, 2010
2:41 pm

Oh, and as far as contradictions go, how about the genealogy of Jesus? Compare Matthew vs. Luke.

Also, take a look at EXACTLY who was present at the tomb when it was discovered that Jesus wasn’t there. How many angels were there? How many disciples? Which disciples? Look at each of the four Gospels.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
2:51 pm

iRun, yes, He absolutely cares, absolutely knows and He is absolutely paying attention to all of us. He does experience anger . . . the emotion of anger in and of itself is not a sin, but the action that follows the emotion is where the sin is. We humans act in a sinful way when we’re angry, but He does not.

The kind of cliche answer is that God has given us free will to choose Him or not to choose Him, and He will not interfere with our free will. I like the way my mentor used to say it, God honors our choice. I don’t know how to answer about if He feels disappointment, because the emotion of disappointment implies that He didn’t know to begin with, and since He does know, I don’t know if disappointment is the right word. Grief or sadness maybe a better word.

I think again that a very pale analogy is when we call Him “Our Father Who Art In Heaven” and we think of Him as our father. True that may be, but I suspect that we use the word “father” because we can’t comprehend beyond that term. Maybe no term exists in human language. But we can relate to the word father, and so as a father, He cares, He knows, He pays attention, He gets angry, sad, and grieves when we make stupid choices. As every parent knows, sometimes you have to let your kids go and make their own mistakes, because we can’t force them to do anything. But we love our children with every fiber of our being, and He loves us.

The kind of funny thing is, we as a society, tend to think of Him as a cosmic genie or divine coke machine. When the going gets tough, we pop in a prayer and push the right button and expect our coke to come out or our prayer to be answered in the way we want. That is not who He is. What kind of parent would we be if we let our kids have everything they asked for when they asked for it?

I wish you all knew the peace that comes from knowing Him.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
2:54 pm

Gracie, your take on history may be accurate, but your gammar give you away. you used the the word “in” (preposition). you wrote; “…God had a provision for the continuation of the family lines in Israel…” the correct myth would read; “…continuation of the family lines OF Israel…” and with all due respect, how can you possibly comment on the veracity or accuracy of the translations of ancient texts? as Bob pointed out, the lion’s share of Bible is akin to a fairy tale or nursery rhyme (think Washington chopping down a cherry tree, the Warren Commission, or WMDs and Iraq linked to 9/11).

Rockerbabe

April 26th, 2010
3:01 pm

I always thought that “prayer day” was the sabbeth day. Now we have to have a national prayer day? Just an excuse to engage in politics under the disguise of religion.

M

April 26th, 2010
3:16 pm

Gracie,

I wish you knew the peace that comes from letting go of childish superstition. And I’m not saying this to be insulting. The guilt that is removed from one’s life is staggering.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
3:21 pm

Okay, Neo, I’ll concede a typo or poor grammar. But whether the right word is “in” “of” “on”, I still do not believe anything contained in the Bible is a fairy tale or a myth.

As to the veracity of ancient texts, I defer to the linguistic and translation experts whose writings I’ve read comparing the original texts to several translations. The main message of the Bible has not changed in 2010 years.

But, for example, in Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, the speaker is identified as the “Preacher” in the King James or the “Teacher” in the NIV, and he says that everything is “meaningless” in the NIV translation. In the King James and New American Standard, the word is rendered “vanity”. In God’s Word translation, the word is rendered “pointless” and the person speaking is the “spokesman” and in the Revised English Bible it is “futility”. I’m not a scholar in Hebrew, so I’ll trust those who are to find the best English equivalent. But basically, aren’t they all synonyms?

Again, there are some of us who believe, and some folks that never will. Funny though, when those who do not believe are at the lowest point of their entire life with no hope whatsoever, they want God Whom they’ve never believed in, to help them out?

Left Libertarian

April 26th, 2010
3:31 pm

Wow, this may be the first time besides the Defense of Marriage Act and the initial PATRIOT Act vote that Bob Barr has been wrong.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
3:40 pm

M, I’m not insulted and as a believer, I have no guilt or shame. Jesus died on the cross to remove my sin, my guilt and shame.

M

April 26th, 2010
3:43 pm

…because a blood god demands blood sacrifices. But he’s made out of love.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
3:45 pm

there is a third group, Gracie; those who once believed and no longer believe. some refer to this group by it;’s secular name; “rational”. I am sorry if I need just a bit more proof before I sign off on talking snakes, burning bushes, water turned to wine, and the planet being re-populated by animals (and humans) on a boat. 2,000 years from now in the unlikely event humans still exist, scholars and experts will “translate” the worls of Dickens, Tolstoy, Hemmingway, et al and while they may all agree on the translation, their expertise will not turn fiction to fact.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
3:53 pm

Neo, I’m very sorry that something happened to cause you to turn away from your belief.

M, it is very unlikely that I can ever provide enough information for you to change your mind. God is holy above all things, He cannot tolerate sin. The wages of sin is death, it is only by his grace that any of us are still alive. It is only by His grace that he allows substitute sacrifices. Period. End of story.

I’m not educated enough or eloquent enough in speech to convince you, and I’m not trying to. I am only giving you an answer for my faith.

Believe it or not, your choice.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
4:03 pm

Gracie, I did not “turn away” from my belief; I grew up. I became more educated. I became a more critical thinker. I believe in “faith”. I simply do not believe in gods. you said it yourself; “…I am not educated enough…” nor was I when I drank the Kool-Aid, which is ironic, as the very expression originates from Jonestown/Guyana; where a “Christian” convinced hundreds of “uneducated” followers to drink cyanide. prayer/meditation is a wonderful and useful endeavor. I just don’t believe there should be a “national day of prayer” anymore than there should be a “national don’t eat meat on Friday day” or a “national do not drink” day. one’s faith or the decision to pray or not to pray is deeply personal, and it shouldn’t be confused with the ability to recite literature “exactly” as it was written. I can recite the theme song to Gilligan’s Island, but it doesn’t make it the word of god.

No More Progressives!

April 26th, 2010
4:30 pm

Tim O’Brien

April 26th, 2010
7:01 am
Why can’t religious people comprehend that prayer should be private. Any time, even the invocation at the beginning of congressional sessions, a government official leads a prayer at a government function, that official violates the 1st Amendment

What did you say when Obama hosted the National Day of Muslim Prayer at the Nations Capital recently?

PS: That garbage about the 1st Amendment. You need to read it again.

No More Progressives!

April 26th, 2010
4:33 pm

The Udder Side!!!!

April 26th, 2010
1:52 pm

So if a self described member of the taliban wanted to have a prayer vigil on the state capitol lawn, You would be Ok with that????

I guess so. See above.

ND

April 26th, 2010
4:37 pm

It is sad and disappointing that a libertarian like you, who otherwise is one of the strongest voices against government intrusion into our lives, would defend the government sanctioning religious observances of any kind. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” I realize National Prayer Day is not a law, but the government endorsing such an event is improper nevertheless.

JTex

April 26th, 2010
4:40 pm

I believe the event you’re referring to is described here:

http://factcheck .org/2009/09/muslim-prayer-day-sept-25/

You’ll notice that this was not, in fact, a Federal holiday. So…you’re comparing apples and oranges. Unsurprisingly.

No More Progressives!

April 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

JTex

April 26th, 2010
4:40 pm

You’ll notice that this was not, in fact, a Federal holiday. So…you’re comparing apples and oranges. Unsurprisingly.

It was held on Federal property, and I never said it was a holiday.

Why do you condone this???

Fix-It

April 26th, 2010
4:56 pm

The people who argue against prayer seem to argue points that make no sense, they pick one line, and generally from the Old Testament, and harp on it. I have an idea look of the word faith, that may clear up what you seem not to understand.

retiredds

April 26th, 2010
5:02 pm

So I ask you Bob, what is the difference between a First Amendment zealot and a Second Amendment zealot, or a 4th Amendment zealot, or a 10th Amendment zealot, etc. Are there gradations of zealot? Is one zealot more right (or wrong) than another zealot? Is my zealotry better than your zealotry? Does my being a zealot for one Constitutional Amendment automatically make another’s zealotry myopic? Just ask’in.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
5:35 pm

why are my posts not being displayed?

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
5:45 pm

I have just tried to post something for the third time and it has disappeared onto thin air.

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
5:46 pm

I wonder which word is being censored? will somebody from the ajc fess up?

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
7:01 pm

LOL! Neo, maybe it’s God. (just kiddin’)

frankLeeDarling

April 26th, 2010
7:17 pm

christianity is stupid

frankLeeDarling

April 26th, 2010
7:20 pm

religion is just an easy way to cop out

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
7:23 pm

let’s try again. I do not understand why certain people bemoan the government for getting into healthcare, banking, auto manufacturing, but they are OK with the goverment getting into the prayer/worship business. maybe I’ll think differently when churches start paying taxes like the rest of us – “the Blessings of Liberty” are not cheap.

No More Progressives!

April 26th, 2010
8:14 pm

frankLeeDarling

April 26th, 2010
7:20 pm
religion is just an easy way to cop out

Cop out of what?

No More Progressives!

April 26th, 2010
8:18 pm

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
7:23 pm
“the Blessings of Liberty” are not cheap.

Liberty, in and of itself, is absolutely free. The Blessings of Liberalism are what cost us, against my will, as well.

melvin polatnick

April 26th, 2010
8:31 pm

The best kept secret is that there are over 100 million Americans that are non believers. Due to the myth that only a believer has high morals most are afraid to confess their secret, but the day is not far off when a confessed non believer will become president. On that day, those that pray to a sky god will be considered insane.

No More Progressives!

April 26th, 2010
8:36 pm

melvin polatnick

April 26th, 2010
8:31 pm
but the day is not far off when a confessed non believer will become president.

That day is here, now.

Gracie

April 26th, 2010
8:42 pm

I quote from the Campaign for Working Families, End of Day Report:

“Barack Obama took a break from his vacation in Asheville, North Carolina, this weekend to visit with Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham. The meeting between the president and one of America’s most beloved families comes just days after the Pentagon, staffed with Obama’s leftwing appointees, rescinded Franklin Graham’s speaking invitation to a National Day of Prayer event. Obama could have easily reversed that decision, but he didn’t.

“Instead, he reportedly promised that his administration would appeal a leftwing judge’s decision declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. What a joke! Obama has shown hostility to the observance from the moment he entered the White House. “

JTex

April 26th, 2010
9:23 pm

I’m sorry, “No More”, I assumed that you were capable of being intellectually honest. Apparently, I was incorrect. Here are the related quotes:

“Why can’t religious people comprehend that prayer should be private. Any time, even the invocation at the beginning of congressional sessions, a government official leads a prayer at a government function, that official violates the 1st Amendment”

“What did you say when Obama hosted the National Day of Muslim Prayer at the Nations Capital recently?”

The first quote describes a government function. Your response referred to a Muslim prayer day that was not, in fact, a government function. You attempted to cast it as such, but, thankfully, the “interwebs” proved to be your downfall. And now you’re trying to redirect the discussion because you’ve been caught in an untruth. Typical. And sad.

And just so we’re clear, sir, I have no objection to a “National Day of Prayer” that is inclusive of all faiths and recognizes the very real sociological and anthropological role that religion plays in our society. Such recognition does not lead to an establishment of religion, merely a recognition of religion’s role in our society. A National Day of Prayer allows those of ANY faith, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Universalist, Ba’hai, Zoroastrian, Taoist, Jewish, Wiccan, etc. etc. etc. to spend a day, should they so choose, in contemplation.

I suggest YOU spend that day in contemplation of your own prejudice against people whose beliefs don’t align with your own. You might also consider asking whichever Higher Power you acknowledge to bestow greater cognitive skills upon you. You seem to be lacking.

JTex

April 26th, 2010
9:27 pm

“but the day is not far off when a confessed non believer will become president.

That day is here, now.”

And again, sir, your own ignorance rears its ugly head.

There is no factual basis for your response. What evidence do you have to suggest that Obama is not a man of faith? You make a claim, yet are completely incapable of defending it. The man has declared his religious faith again and again…he has attended church, as far as any reasonable, rational person can tell, for most (if not all) of his adult AND pre-adult life…yet people like you persist in making these LUDICROUS comments that have no basis in reality.

So, please – provide EVIDENCE to prove your CLAIMS, you complete, unrepentant, uneducated, ill-informed, ideologically-damaged MORON!

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
9:36 pm

No More Progressives, actually Liberty is not free, we pay taxes. Do you know why I used quotation marks? Check the preamble to the Constitution. Churches do not pay taxes. Why? Are there only certain Amendments (1st) which are “in and of it self” free?

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:41 pm

I hope local religious leaders will join me on the Marietta Square across from the Courthouse to ask that God impart His wisdom upon the State Court of Cobb County Georgia, the Cobb County Circuit Defender’s Office, and the Cobb County Council to act in accordance with His will as it regards Civil Rights abuses of the poor and people of color.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:44 pm

Did the Governor’s prayers on the Statehouse steps a couple of years ago asking God to end the drought, bring about the devestating floods that struck Cobb County last fall? God does answer prayers, so please be careful how you pray and what you ask for!

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:45 pm

I always ask (or qualify specific requests) that God’s will be done!

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:48 pm

I wonder how Her Honor Melodie Clayton will react if I ask for five minutes for prayer, or at least a moment of silence at my next Court appearance?

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:50 pm

I still pray that the law that requires the use of “household” income which has now made me homeless (literally), be changed, as God deems necessary or not.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:52 pm

I also pray that I not face incarceration for sleeping on the Courthouse steps when I arrive in the wee hours Thursday morning for my required Court appearance, as I have no where else to go, unless it is in God’s will that I be arrested.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:53 pm

I further pray that in a County where blacks make up 30 percent of the population, that more black faces be in a position of authority, if it is in accordance with God’s will.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
10:56 pm

I pray that the Georgia State Board of Education make the book, “The Pledge of Allegiance, A Revised History and Analysis (1892-2007)”, by Dr. John W. Baer, REQUIRED READING, if SB 518 becomes Law.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:00 pm

Lastly I pray that Jesus Christ, who died for my sins, conquered Death and Sin, and rose from the dead, protect me from harm if it be in God’s will, or provide my salvation should I meet death, and that the Holy Spirit continue to inspire me and lead me in the direction that God desires me to take.

In Jesus’s Name, I pray, Amen.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:05 pm

I ask that God qualify my request regading Dr. John W. Baer’s book, with the words, if it is in accordance with His will.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:09 pm

Does anyone know if Cobb County Contract documents make any reference to extentions of time requests due to “Acts of God” or “Acts of the public enemy”? I may need to introduce such documents as evidence, should my criminal case ever come to trial. In addition, if any biblical or religious experts might be interested in testifying, please contact me regarding expert testimony I may wish to introduce in my defense…

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:13 pm

I offer one more prayer~May God guide the Judge to grant immunity and job protection to a baliff of the Court who may be called to testify regarding statements made to someone. Said someone was told by the Judge in the case that she had no credibilty due to her testimony, under sworn oath before the Court and before God…This someone is in fact INCREDIBLE, and beyond belief. That is why I love her so…

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:14 pm

Again, I ask God to include the qualifying statement, if it be in accordance with His will, and I ask God to inspire the baliff in question to come forward with the Truth, as God leads him to do so or not…

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:27 pm

I pray that God, if it be in accordance with His will, inspire leaders of Must Ministries to lobby leaders to change the law, which presently leads to homelessness.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:30 pm

I pray that the Southern Center for Human Rights be provided with the means to sue to overturn all guilty verdicts and guilty pleas, where “household” income was used to deny Court appointed counsel to poor people, and therefore they were denied their Right to a Fair Trial, and I further pray that all Court costs and fines be returned promptly, if it is in accordance with God’s will.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:36 pm

I pray that the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, act to immediately stop the use of “household” income in the determination of indigence, and that the DOJ file suit on behalf of the poor defendants previously convicted without proper representation in Federal District Court, if it is in accordance with God’s will! I further pray that the Georgia Supreme Court step in, and apply their collective knowledge, experience, and wisdom to rule in this matter, and that they rule in accordance with God’s will!

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:43 pm

I pray that anyone who may be suffering or searching for answers, ask God, as they may understand Him, to lead them to find relief and answers, that they be comforted and guided, that they receive forgiveness, and forgive themselves, and that they forgive others, as God sees fit to speak to them. I pray that we find a spirit of acceptance, love, … See Moreand tolerance for each other, and realize that ALL are created equal in God’s eyes, and all should be treated with respect and honor. Perhaps we should begin to realize that there may be forces of evil that seek to destroy God’s plan.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 26th, 2010
11:53 pm

I pray that God lead our leaders, at the local, state, and national levels, to act in accordance with His will, and ask that God have mercy on the poorest of our country, and provide basic human rights to all, including clothing, food, shelter, health care, education, and financial opportunity, as well as equal protection under the law, the right to expess and observe their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, as God inspires the individual, and that God lead our religious leaders to respect the religious rights of the minority, who may not share the same religious beliefs of the majority, in accordance with God’s will.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 27th, 2010
12:06 am

I pray that those who may feel disenfranchised, or who reach a point of despair to the point that they resort to violence, be guided to follow the paths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ghandi, regarding their teachings of social change through non-violence. I pray that the King Center will take the lead regarding continued Civil Rights violations and non-violent demonstrations and gatherings. I pray that the current civil unrest I sense not continue to escalate into civil disturbance and perhaps more. I pray that children of God throughout the world be permitted to live peacefully, without acts of war and opression. I pray that God have mercy on mankind, and allow us to grow in understanding and effectiveness, patience, kindness, tolerance, and love, and that we think of others ahead of ourselves. I pray that we open our hearts, minds, and spirits to the concept of brotherhood of ALL mankind. I pray in Jesus’s name, that God’s will be done, regarding the above requests, and regarding mankind’s possible deception by forces of evil, leading us to historically act upon what we believe to be God’s will, rather than His Holy Intentions for us all. Amen.

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 27th, 2010
12:07 am

I sum up all of the above prayers with this most simple prayer:
God help us, one and all!

Michael C. Hmielewski

April 27th, 2010
2:26 am

I think that “freaky, positive vibes”, may result in a transfer of energy in much the same way that prayer does….

No More Progressives!

April 27th, 2010
6:54 am

JTex

April 26th, 2010
9:23 pm

You’re quite a wordsmith. Like so many Liberal/Progressive types, you manage to contort and twist words to fit the occassion. But like ALL Liberal/Progressives, the one thing that you’re best at is character assassination.

Try again, tough guy. Your arguments sound like you’re trying to explain the meaning of the word “is.”

No More Progressives!

April 27th, 2010
6:58 am

neo-Carlinist

April 26th, 2010
9:36 pm
No More Progressives, actually Liberty is not free, we pay taxes.

Liberty is an inalienable right, bestowed upon you from your maker. It is, in fact, free.

You pay taxes because of Federal and State governments that have run wild and cannot restrain themselves. The Govt. does not “give” you Liberty; you exited the womb with inherent Liberty as a US Citizen.

Your obsession with churches paying taxes is interesting, though.

frankLeeDarling

April 27th, 2010
7:36 am

Jeremiah Caddell

April 27th, 2010
7:57 am

Despite what people may think I think that National Prayer Day should be allowed. I think that i have as much right to say what I think as anyone. IF muslims can be allowed to gather in washington heck I ll be there praying in washington and i dont give a flying flip what anyone says. My right to pray is guaranteed to the first amendment right. I can jump pray and sing to the top of my lungs by the grace of god. You know people want to read the bible, study it , but seldom ever people want to live the bible. A new world order is coming about with our idiotic president in the lead the end of time is coming get your life right and remember keep your faith the size of a mustard seed. And trust in him and he will take care of us. You can say

somewhereinga

April 27th, 2010
10:37 am

Christian Conservative: 11:11 said “LIBERALs are idiots..”

I guess my question would be “Is that something Jesus would say of anyone …or a true Christian would say of another American?”

neo-Carlinist

April 27th, 2010
12:33 pm

NMP, my point exactly. “freedom is not free”. whether it be an “inalienable right” bestowed by a Creator, or not, it has become a commodity to be “traded” or sold to the highest bidder by the “liberty brokers” in Washington and Atlanta. In short, they tax US and mete out liberty, justice, common defense, etc. like a salesman dispenses nails at a hardware store. the moment you become a citizen you SURRENDER your notion of freedom to some guys in powdered wigs who lived 250 years ago.

No More Progressives!

April 27th, 2010
1:04 pm

neo-Carlinist

April 27th, 2010
12:33 pm

….it has become a commodity to be “traded” or sold to the highest bidder by the “liberty brokers” in Washington………

Total agreement, Neo. It shouldn’t be this way, and it wasn’t designed this way, but you’re right.

So, what do we do about it?

Mike

April 27th, 2010
2:54 pm

neo-Carlinist

April 27th, 2010
3:06 pm

NPM, good (albeit, depressing) question. the short answer is convene a Constitutional Convention and update the law. The Founding Fathers were champions of liberty and inalienable rights, for sure, but they were wealthy property owners in a world indentured servants, slavery (where only certain citizens enjoyed freedom), and uncharted territories to the west. as the nation grew (in population and administration). this is why I cynically think the ruling class (politicians) have always “brokered” freedom. In essence, the United States liberated itself from a tyrannical monarchy, but the “better mousetrap” we a defacto tyrannical oligarchy (a three-headed monster). oh, and as an editorial note, please (and I don’t use the word please often), rethink your handle. “Progressive” is not a bad word. It originates from the word “progress”, which is good (if said progress is measured, judicious and considerate). I think some talking head or Karl Rove type hung the label on liberals without nuch thought, as in my opinion, MOST “liberal” at ideas do not reflect progress at all, but rather “business as usual”.

neo-Carlinist

April 27th, 2010
3:09 pm

excuse ommission. I meant to write, as the nation grew, the Constitution (law() did not. technology alone (our shift from an agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy and movement of people from rural farms to urban population centers, didn’t mesh well with the Bill of Rights. we need to periodically “update” rights (as evdienced by the fact that the Constitution has been amended some 27 times).

No More Progressives!

April 27th, 2010
3:53 pm

Yes, but many of the wealthy property owners (Founders) lost everything, some even their lives to see a just cause carried out.

Your cynical view of politicians is shared by me. It is, however, up to us to wrest power from these abusers and re-shape the political landscape. It’s why we have elections every 2 years.

Contitutional Amendment #28: Term Limits.

And as for progressives: in the definitive sense, yes, they may do some good. But a look into history about the “Progressive Movement” and I think you’ll find that a true progressive (Teddy R, Woodrow W, FDR) is a heinous and reprehensible person. These are the condescending elites that look down their long noses at us, the mere serfs of the Kindom. Their desire is to micromanage our every waking moment, because they truly believe that we are too stupid to do it oursleves.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

April 28th, 2010
3:47 am

Okay, Barr, waiting for your next column, which I assume will focus on how the new Arizona anti-illegal immigration law doesn’t jive with the fourth amendment.

Jay Randolph

May 15th, 2010
11:52 pm

I sure wish those who quote the violates the 1st Amendment, would first read it
We have an Amendment which tells us that Church is not to run the government, and the government is not to run the Church. However we do not have anything that says there is to be a seperation of God and Government which is why our money and so many of our monuments speak of God. Our country is in the shape it is in now because so many have forgotten what God has none for this Nation. Like schools, before we removed prayer from schools teachers big concern was gum under the desk. . . they now no longer worry aqbout that. . . now they are too busy worried about drugs, guns, rape and Murder in schools. . . Does anybody really think this is better. Or maybe the 350,000 murdered babies. No this is not what I want and this is why I am part of the National Prayer Day each month praying for our Country Jobs, Health and Government which has a myspace page http://www.myspace.com/national_prayer_day
Be a part of the solution, Join the National Prayer Day
Plan today, what you are going to say to God