10:33, January 25 90 0

2019-01-25 10:33:04

 

Prayer has no place in the U.S. Capitol. Let’s separate church & state.

Let us pray. Eternal God, the center of our joy. On September 11, 2001, our country united because of an external threat. Remind our law makers that nations are not only destroyed from without but also from within. As each Senator has taken an oath to protect our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, provide him or her with the guidance to passionately defend this land we love from the most subtle incursions. Lord, as some members of our armed forces seek sustenance at charity food pantries and prepare to miss a second payday, something has to give. Forgive us oh might God, for our sins of commission and omission. Remind each senator of the words of Jesus of Nazareth in Luke 10:7: “Those who work deserve their pay.” We pray in your sovereign name, Amen. Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain, U.S. Senate, January 24, 2019

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It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context.

She added that no law prevents people in the United States from praying or from creating non-governmental days of prayer, concluding:

I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray. That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination.

Congress established The National Day of Prayer during the Cold War in 1952 (and added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, “In God We Trust” to U.S. coins during the Civil War, and to paper money in 1956).

In 1988, Congress set the annual National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. President Obama, under whose presidency the court declared it unconstitutional chose to ignore the ruling by issuing a proclamation beginning:

Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans have come together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble themselves in prayer.

George W. Bush and other elected leaders have invoked their Christian faith as the foundation of their political ideology. While governor of Texas, Bush officially declared June 10, 2000 as “Jesus Day,” and he advised all Texans “to follow Christ’s example by performing good works in their communities and neighborhoods.”

…The Bible tells us, ‘how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity’…We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God…And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America.

It is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda a focal point of the inauguration.

Obama’s choice of Giglio and Warren, even if they had not been divisive figures, by giving blatantly sectarian addresses at presidential inaugurals raises several critical issues.

And I will go even further: Why indeed does the government require the practice at presidential and other “swearing in” ceremonies of the placement of hands upon the Bibles (composed of the Jewish Bible and the Christian Testaments) and a swearing to the name of “almighty God.” Furthermore, why do we hire chaplains to deliver prayers at the daily openings of Congressional sessions, all paid for by public tax dollars?

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

Every new and successful example, therefore, or a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.

The Constitution of the U.S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes…. The establishment of the chaplainship to Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles….

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