Sunday, March 10, 2013



‘Jesus Christ’ Banned from Council Prayers

The fact that Jesus is invoked in your presence does not compel you to become a Christian or compel you  to become anything else -- so where the problem lies is not clear to me.  If Christian prayers are said in my presence I think it just tells me that the person praying has at least some Christian convictions.  It tells me nothing else.  And even though I am an atheist I treat all prayers with respect.  Where is the problem in doing that?  Treating others with respect is the essence of civility

The mayor of a Washington town has directed pastors to stop invoking the name “Jesus Christ” in city council invocations.

Don Jensen, the mayor of Longview, Wash., told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association that prayers mentioning Christ were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit.

The decision has sparked controversy in the city – located about 50 miles north of Portland, Ore.

Mark Schmutz, who pastors the Northlake Baptist Church, said if they can’t speak the name Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation.

“We need to be able to speak Jesus’ name,” he told The Daily News. “They’re asking us not to do what we’re called to do. This is the one and only true God. We’re not trying to be against anybody – we’re just being clear about what we’re for.

Local ministers have been leading City Council invocations for more than 50 years – and until recently there had never been any complaints.

That changed when resident Dan Smith started raising concerns about the constitutionality of prayers that include the name of Christ and whether it was appropriate for the ministerial association to be responsible for the prayers.

Smith describes himself as a “comfortable atheist” – and called the longtime prayers an embarrassment. He hinted that unless the prayers were dropped it might lead to a lawsuit.

Jensen said the invocations set the right tone for their meetings and said it encouraged residents to be “more friendly.”

Source



12 comments:

Abdul X said...

"Where is the problem in doing that? "

It shows that you have ZERO convictions for your beliefs.

Anonymous said...

"Political correctness is a far greater threat to our freedom and liberty than is terrorism..."

Anonymous said...

When a population was virtually only Christian and had a state religion that was Christian, then it would be unobjectionable to have official prayers consistent with the beliefs of that religion. But the US is now a republican democracy with a population of many religions and no religions, so it is blatently undemocratic and even insulting to other view-points, to have prayers aimed at the public in general favoring one specific religion or sect of that religion.

Use the Name, Luke said...

The men who wrote and added the First Amendment to the Constitution were the very same men who implemented invocations. Some of them also wrote that the Bible should be taught in schools. (And none wrote that it should not be taught.)

The pastors should remain available for invocations while making it clear that they cannot obey the directive to suppress their free exercise of religion. They have solid grounds for holding that position.

Anonymous said...

Luke's view is an argument for a state religion and/or a theocracy in the US!

Steve said...

It's time to grow up and realize that just because some one prays doesn't mean that you are forced to believe or that the nation is endorsing those prayers.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Luke's view is an argument for a state religion and/or a theocracy in the US!

Those same men also argued against a state religion and theocracy. Recognizing and allowing religion (and even claiming it's necessary for a successful, as Washington, Adams and others wrote) is not the same thing as setting up an official state religion or theocracy.

Theocracy means rule by a god or priests. I don't see that anywhere in our Constitution, and I would oppose adding such due both to the Bible's teaching of such a separation (render unto Ceaser…) and how horribly things went wrong when that was attempted.

Anonymous said...

I wise man once quoted 'siting in a church makes you no more a Christian the standing in a garage makes you a car'. Why do people treat Christianity like it contagious?

Anonymous said...

The simple truth is that prayer at public functions have been going on at the local, state and federal level since the founding of the US, over 200 yrs! While Christianity is the prevelant religion in the US, it has not become the "State" religion and no one is pressured to join. In the late 20th century, american athiests became offended by others practicing their freedom of religion. Now, ironically, the athiests are imposing their world view on the general public. We can't have public officials exercising their constitutional right to believe in God and act accordingly. People might think there is an God and then they won't join the athiest groups. Around here the athiest group meets regularly and invite others to join them. Sounds like a religion to me.

Anonymous said...

I bet a muslim asshole could invoke Allah's name with no problem.

Abdul X said...

"Sounds like a religion to me."

So, all it takes to be a religion is for a number of people get together with similar goals. I guess that makes a jury a religion. That makes a bunch of used-car salesmen at a dealership a religion. That makes the NRA a religion. Etc., etc., ....

Anonymous said...

The reference to religion in the US Constitution was intended to protect Christian denominations from each other as much as (or more than from) the US Government or the State!
However, the US is supposed to be a republican democracy, so atheists or non-religious people have as much right to make their opinions influence law and social issues as religious people, and to campaign and demonstrate as much as religious sects do.
Those who claim to be Christians may be the nominal majority but the Constitution protects the rights of minorities, which of course includes the non-religious.