Monday, February 6, 2012

Is praying in Jesus' name OK?

Should people be able to pray “in Jesus’ name” at government meetings?

The U.S. Supreme Court says no. A federal court ruled that prayers endorsing a specific religion can not be offered at Forsyth County commissioner meetings, and last month the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of that decision.

Now, N.C. House leaders seem to be ignoring that. Prayers backing a particular religion, almost always Christianity, are routinely offered in the House and Senate chambers. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Majority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, see no problem with that.

“The same Constitution that prohibits government-sponsored religion also protects the right of individuals to exercise their faith as they so choose,” Tillis said in a statement that the Associated Press reported on Friday.

Said Stam: “Members volunteer to pray and do so at their own free will, and their prayers are not directed or censored by any government official.”

By that logic, Tillis and Stam should be fine opening the legislature with a prayer in Mohammed’s name. That, of course, would be wrong, too.

The ACLU is challenging the legislative prayers. Tillis is dismissing the ACLU as a far-left group. They may be, but that is beside the point. People on the left, middle and right should worry about government imposing religious views on the public.

Yes, individuals can exercise their faith, but doing so to open a meeting of a government that represents all people of all faiths is something else entirely. The Founding Fathers made clear that they wanted a separation between church and state. They had seen religious oppression in England, and so wrote freedom of religion into the First Amendment. Government could not favor one religion over another.

That means anyone is free to practice whatever religion they like. But the government is not allowed to push one religion over others. That violates what the Founding Fathers intended, which the Supreme Court has now confirmed. At public meetings, North Carolina’s leaders should pray in a more general way, or not at all.

-- Taylor Batten

25 comments:

heavymetal said...

Having had a staunchly Roman Catholic upbringing in MD, I was shocked (and a little disturbed) as a preteen to find Christian prayers evoke Jesus' name in the South when I moved here.
I vividly remember being confused at the end of the Lord's Prayer, as an example, just as my Protestant friends were no doubt confused to have to hush when they were at a Catholic service during the same prayer.
Thinking about it, I guess I don't have the same aversion to "God" or "the Lord" during a prayer that I specifically have to "Jesus" or "Allah."

Twodogz said...

This country is founded under God. That God's name is Jesus.
I wish that Christians were as bold and enthusiastic about THE God as other religions are about their gods.
I have no problem with prayer in public, be it in schools, government, sporting events, or anywhere else,especially when that person doing the praying is praying to The God that the majority of the people in the USA worship. No one is imposing their religion on anyone else. Why are people so uneasy when the majority in a society exercise their freedoms?

Baixiong said...

You can only pray in Jesus' name when he isn't there.

Otherwise, let him speak for himself.

heavymetal said...

I would have thought that our forefathers covered this quite succinctly with "one nation under God, indivisible."
You, know-- with the "indivisible" part being the key.
Not "Jesus," per se... As in God not divided into the Holy Trinity at all.

Wiley Coyote said...

Non-issue...

When In God We Trust is removed from our currency, then enforce the law across the land regarding government not being able to pray to God.

Otherwise, end of subject.

Baixiong said...

Heavymetal, you realize that the phrase "under god" wasn't put into the Pledge until the 1950's don't you?

Before that time, and as originally written (and NOT by our Founding Fathers, BTW) it was simply "one nation indivisible".

Then they put "under God" in there to divide the nation...

heavymetal said...

Actually, I knew exactly when that phrase was entered, Biaxiong.
And I fully support it's insertion into the Pledge.

Baixiong said...

Wiley,

Don't you think our currency has been debased enough as it is.

Just look at how much the dollar has dropped in value since 1957when "In God We Trust" was put on our paper money.

This was all done in the name of McCarthyism in the 1950's.

And it hasn't helped the dollar one bit.

jenifer daniels - the friendraiser said...

ITA w/ Baixiong.

Know your history first. 'under God' was added more recently while 'separation of Church and state' (from 1802) still stands as the prevailing philosophy.

@Twodogz, the county was not founded under God. It was founded by people seeking religious freedom - big difference. The first amendment to the US Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" The two parts, known as the "establishment clause" and the "free exercise clause" respectively, form the textual basis for the Supreme Court's interpretations of the "separation of church and state" doctrine.

Baixiong said...

Heavymetal,


So was Joe McCarthy a Founding Father? Was our nation formed in the 1950's?

The "indivisible" part of the Pledge never referred to a God, but to the nation.

Jason said...

How about this? It's stupid to insist on the prayer and it's also stupid to complain about it. Both sides of the argument are being idiots.

Baixiong said...

Jenifer,

What "history" do you think I do not know?

Just because I didn't mention Jefferson and his wall of separation, doesn't mean I don't know about it.

I also know when the Pledge of Allegiance was altered.

And when the "God" motto was added to the dollar bill (not coins, which was earlier).

I've heard this all before.

No one will change the motto on the money because it is considered "secular" usage, and not religious.

Been there, done that...

heavymetal said...

McCarthy?
Heh.

I'll let you roll with that, Baixiong.
You don't need my help, you have your own shovel.....

Wiley Coyote said...

The act approving the motto to be placed on the 1-cent and newly created 2-cent piece passed April 22, 1864. This was followed in 1866 by the 5 cent nickel (1866–1883), quarter dollar, half dollar, silver dollar, and gold dollars.

An 1865 law allowed the motto to be used on coins. The use of the motto was permitted, but not required, by an 1873 law. While several laws come into play, the act of May 18, 1908, is most often cited as requiring the motto (even though the cent and nickel were excluded from that law, and the nickel did not have the motto added until 1938). Since 1938, all coins have borne the motto.

One Discerner said...

If I am asked to lead a pray either in a government or private sector meeting, it's in Jesus Name that "I" pray. I'm not asking you to pray in Jesus Name, that is your choice. But as for me, there is no other choice and I'm not going to apologize or put politically correct in front of my God, Supreme Court of no Supreme Court.

ham154 said...

Guys, the pledge of allegiance was not written by the "Founding Fathers". It was written by a baptist minister in 1892.

arejaye said...

Why can't people just pray silently? Then guess what? Problem solved. People who believe in a different invisible sky thing, or not one at all, aren't bothered at all, and neither are you, by THEIR nonsensicle crap. Keep it to yourself is all. Now...was that so hard to figure out? duh

Baixiong said...

Heavymetal,

OK, so McCarthy was behind the "In God We Trust" motto, the "under God" was put in the Pledge by others, but around the same time when we were so scared of the Commies.

For a real eye-opener, look at the original "salute" for the Plege of Allegiance.

It's called the Bellamy salute in honor of the fellow who wrote the pledge.

It will look familiar, I promise...

Twodogz said...

In 1781, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and later the Nation's third President, in his work titled `Notes on the State of Virginia' wrote: `God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God. That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.'.

Wiley Coyote said...

BAix...

In God We Trust was put on coins 100 years before McCarthy

heavymetal said...

@ham154... and a SOCIALTIST baptist minister at that!
Just look at how far the socialists have devolved since then, huh?!?

Baixiong said...

Wiley,

I know it was put on coins before McCarthy.

My point is that VERY LITTLE of this sloganizing and stuff was related to our Founding Fathers and the beginning of the country.

Most of it was added later by various political groups trying to use some kind of voodoo or the other to protect us in war or against some foreign enemy or the other.

It's mostly ignorance and superstition unrelated to the founding of this country.

And, twodogz, I'm sure you know about the Jefferson Bible (the one with all the miracles of Jesus left out) and Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 (where the phrase "separation of church and state" was used).

Jefferson was a Deist.

Deism was a very influential view at the time.

It was nothing like the kind of Christianity we see today.

Baixiong said...

Times change.

Little to none of this stuff was important to our founders.

Look up the Bellamy salute.

It was originally used to pledge allegiance to our flag.

I guarantee you that no one will use that salute today.

heavymetal said...

Baixiong?
I'm glad to know you are using the Bellamy salute as an anchor for your point, for then our work here is done.
You know, what with your pithy in-depth portrayals of search.com history and all.

J said...

Offering up a prayer in the name of a specific religious figure at the beginning of a government meeting is a FAR cry from a government entity establishing an official relgion, as far as the First Amendment is concerned. If a government entity attempted to enact a law compelling the citizens to adhere to a specific religion or figure within that relition, or if at the beginning of the government meeting, the leader attempted to force all attendees to repeat or agree with the prayer - those things would violate the First Amendment's forbidding of a government-established religion. If Thom Tillis wants to say a Christian prayer in Jesus' name to open a legislative session, I see no problem as long as he doesn't demand agreement from everyone else in the room. You're a Muslim? Fine, sit in your seat and doodle on scrap paper. You're a Catholic? Say a silent Hail Mary while Tillis is praying to Jesus.

What this all boils down to is everyone seems to believe, "you can freely exercise your religious freedom all you like, but if we're in the same place and your religion is different than mine, you are wrong and must be silenced."