published Friday, April 23rd, 2010

'Day of Prayer' controversy

Here is what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says on the subject of religion: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... ."

So the First Amendment has two goals where religion is concerned: It guarantees the right to exercise one's faith and forbids Congress to establish a state religion, so no one can be forced to practice a particular faith.

Fifty-eight years ago, in 1952, Congress proclaimed a National Day of Prayer. Presidents of both political parties and believers from many faiths have since observed the National Day of Prayer without coercion, and those of no faith have just as freely declined to observe it. It has been a matter of free choice, not government force one way or the other, and it is coming up again May 6.

But recently, an activist federal judge in liberal Madison, Wis., declared the National Day of Prayer proclamation unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, an appointee of former President Jimmy Carter, accepted the baseless argument of an atheist organization that the observance violates the supposed separation of church and state.

But that ruling shows a hostility toward religion that the Constitution never intended. The First Amendment was designed to prevent the forcible imposition of religion or the forcible prohibition of the exercise of religion. A National Day of Prayer proclamation neither stops anyone from exercising his faith nor forces anyone into any religious exercise. It is voluntary. As such, the Obama administration rightly plans to appeal the ruling.

There are many things Congress does year after year that are unconstitutional but that are never struck down by federal courts. That includes actions such as providing taxpayer subsidies to the Amtrak passenger rail service and forcing Americans to purchase government-approved health insurance through ObamaCare.

Isn't it odd that federal courts ignore so much gross unconstitutionality while singling out free religious expression for condemnation as "unconstitutional"?

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Livn4life said...

In a certain book, this type of activity is referred to as the spirit of anti-Christ. We are only seeing the beginning of its atrocious influence in this society.

April 23, 2010 at 6:21 a.m.
librul said...

Yes - it was really a dark day when the Quran was barred from the classroom (snark.)

Of course, G. W. Bush's establishment of a government program to promote and fund "faith-based" (i.e. christian) organizations and programs was AOK, wasn't it? Even when those organizations were shown to disciminate in hiring and delivery of services.

"Constantine, the Emperor, saw something in the religion of Christ's people which awakened his interest, and now we see him uniting religion to the state and marching up the marble steps of the Emperor's palace, with the church robed in purple. Thus and there was begun the most baneful misalliance that ever fettered and cursed a suffering world.... When ... Constantine crowned the union of church and state, the church was stamped with the spirit of the Caesars.... The long blighting record of the medieval ages is simply the working out of that idea." -- George W Truett (1867-1944), Texas Baptist in "Baptists and Religious Liberty" (1920)

Too bad he wasn't around to debate Bush's idiocy or putting "under God" in the pledge.

April 23, 2010 at 7:45 a.m.
Lefty said...

If your "certain" book tells you that these are the times of the anti-christ, then you should rejoyce. It means before long you will get to be with your god. I on the other hand live in reality and think that what these actions signify is the slow end of having Christian "values" shoved down the throats of the rational nonbelievers. So regardless of what you believe, we both have reason to rejoyce.

April 23, 2010 at 9 a.m.
EaTn said...

We're already established as a country of countless faiths and ideologies, so what's the point? My faith says there is only one God so I really have no reason to encourage other faiths to pray. I think a day of reconciliation would be more appropriate given the massive division we have in the country.

April 23, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.
Vandy said...

Is a law requiring the declaration of a "Day of Prayer" an establishment of religion? That is the question, the judge says it is, others say it isn't. Can Congress require a day of prayer and, if so, can they require a no prayer day be declared?

April 23, 2010 at 6:31 p.m.

The above assertions to what the article was saying and what Livn said, are just plain stupid and vacuous. It has hurt no one for decades for the Capitol and those who wish to participate, to have their day of prayer.

For those on the Left like lefty, don't pay attention, don't listen and don't participate. What's the beef, Bub? Other than your kind have a vile hatred of anything Christian, including Christians themselves. Despite your fog of atheism or whatever Green/pagan/UFO belief system you adhere to, how do you know prayer hurts anyone or anything?

Funny, we NEVER hear any of you complaining about all the towns and cities in America forced to allow all sorts of Islamic/pagan/"gender specific" customs, prayers, readings and chants over PA Systems, in schools, etc. Not one peep. This reeks of rank hypocrisy and religionism, hey, it's even "Bushism" I bet.

April 24, 2010 at 8:07 a.m.
InspectorBucket said...

That quote from Truett is a fascinating historical document. I will post an extended excerpt here, along with a link to the full text of the sermon.

The sermon bears eloquent witness to the great sea-change in American politics, 1920 - 2010.

And it shows how within half a century a birthright of independent belief and liberty were denuded, prostituted, and impoverished in the cause of political gain and vanity.

The sermon also bears witness to a greater cultural collapse. Reading Truett's words in 2010, one can hardly imagine a religious speaker today making confident references to world history and culture that he thought an audience of many thousands could analyze and appreciate critically.

By contrast, in 2010, we hear allusions to Lady Gaga and college football games.

Not a little irony rests in the fact that Truett's name has been claimed by the seminary overseen by Baylor University, the largest Baptist University in the world, now presided over by Kenneth Starr.


To Baptists, the New Testament also clearly teaches that Christ's church is not only a spiritual body but it is also a pure democracy, all its members being equal, a local congregation, and cannot subject itself to any outside control. Such terms, therefore, as "The American Church," or "The bishop of this city or state," sound strangely incongruous to Baptist ears. In the very nature of the case, also, there must be no union between church and state, because their nature and functions are utterly different. Jesus stated the principle in the two sayings, "My kingdom is not of this world," and "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." Never, anywhere, in any clime, has a true Baptist been willing, for one minute, for the union of church and state, never for a moment[. . . .]


That utterance of Jesus, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's," is one of the most revolutionary and history-making utterances that ever fell from those lips divine. That utterance, once and for all, marked the divorcement of church and state. It marked a new era for the creeds and deeds of men. It was the sunrise gun of a new day, the echoes of which are to go on and on and on until in every land, whether great or small, the doctrine shall have absolute supremacy everywhere of a free church in a free state.

In behalf of our Baptist people I am compelled to say that forgetfulness of the principles that I have just enumerated, in our judgment, explains many of the religious ills that now afflict the world[. . . .] Christ's religion needs no prop of any kind from any worldly source, and to the degree that it is thus supported is a millstone hanged about its neck.

May 7, 2010 at 7:17 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Thanks again, Inspector. A solid, articulate post. The paper today included coverage of a group in Chattanooga, and every one of them seems to think that NOT having a national day of prayer somehow denies them the RIGHT to pray. No one has ever been denied the right to pray in this country, even in schools. In fact, private prayer is encouraged by the bible, if my memory serves me, "do not do as the hypocrites, who pray on street corners so that all can see; surely they have received their reward. When you pray, go into your room and shut the door, anoint yourself and pray in secret, and God will see you in secret and reward you." (or some approximation thereof...)

May 7, 2010 at 7:56 a.m.
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