Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

What about Separation?

 

I realize that we are not a Christian nation, either in our institutions, our laws or our behaviors.

However, if you believe the current rhetoric, we were never were. Judicial activists contend that these United States were secular right from our inception and seek to interpret the Constitution in that light.

I wonder how they interpret the first proclamation of Thanksgiving by the Continental Congress in 1777:

FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties;particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE:That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.

And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.1

I guess these guys didn’t understand the principle of separation of church and state.

  1. http://www.pilgrimhall.org/GivingThanks3c.htm, Nov. 2008 []

This really happened

…in my new state

This morning, I somehow stepped into the quicksand of going cleaning out my old e-mails. I came across one about a minister opening the Kansas Senate with a very forceful, profound prayer.

I verified that it was essentially factually correct. Here is the story and the prayer according to Snopes.com:

Back in January of 1996, the Rev. Joe Wright, senior pastor of the 2,500-member Central Christian Church in Wichita, was invited to offer the opening prayer at a session of the Kansas House of Representatives (not the Kansas Senate, as claimed in the text), and the prayer he offered was this one (which differs somewhat from the version cited in the text above):

Heavenly Father, we come before you to ask your forgiveness. We seek your direction and your guidance. We know your word says, “Woe to those who call evil good.” But that’s what we’ve done.

We’ve lost our spiritual equilibrium. We have inverted our values. We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word in the name of moral pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We’ve exploited the poor and called it a lottery. We’ve neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. In the name of choice, we have killed our unborn. In the name of right to life, we have killed abortionists.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it taxes. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, oh, God, and know our hearts today. Try us. Show us any wickedness within us. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of the State of Kansas, and that they have been ordained by you to govern this great state.

Grant them your wisdom to rule. May their decisions direct us to the center of your will. And, as we continue our prayer and as we come in out of the fog, give us clear minds to accomplish our goals as we begin this Legislature. For we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The prayer Rev. Wright used wasn’t of his own crafting; it was a version of one written in 1995 by Bob Russell who offered it at the Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Rev. Wright had been invited to serve as the House’s guest chaplain by Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican who was also a member of Wright’s church. Accordingly, Rev. Wright read the prayer at the opening of the legislature on January 23, and departed, unaware of the ruckus he had created until his church secretary called him on his car phone to ask him what he had done.

Reportedly, one Democrat (not “a number of legislators”) walked out in protest, three others gave speeches critical of Wright’s prayer, and another blasted Wright’s “message of intolerance.” House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (also a Democrat) asserted that the prayer “reflects the extreme, radical views that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing extremists seized control of the House Republican caucus last year.” Rep. Jim Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright “made everyone mad.” But Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright in the first place, claimed that House Democrats were only trying to make political points with their criticism and affirmed that he supported the theme of the prayer.

Rev. Wright said afterwards: “I certainly did not mean to be offensive to individuals, but I don’t apologize for the truth.” His staff stopped counting the telephone calls that came from every state and many foreign countries after the first 6,500. Wright appeared on dozens of radio shows and was the subject of numerous TV and print news reports, and his prayer stirred up controversy all over again when it was read by the chaplain coordinator in the Nebraska legislature the following month.

Wright later explained, “I thought I might get a call from an angry congressman or two, but I was talking to God, not them. The whole point was to say that we all have sins that we need to repent — all of us . . . The problem, I guess, is that you’re not supposed to get too specific when you’re talking about sin.”