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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

State Religion

Appeals Court Denies Stay Of Legislative Prayer Ruling

A federal appeals court is refusing to temporarily lift a judge's order banning prayers during Indiana House proceedings from mentioning Jesus Christ or endorsing any particular religion.

House members have been complying with the order by meeting for informal prayers in the back of their chambers before official business begins.

Am I the only one missing something here or have they already found a solution to this problem? Why can't they just continue to hold their private prayer meetings in the back of the chambers? Are their prayers any less meaningful if they are done there instead of in front of the House? Will God only listen to their prayers if they are presented during official House proceedings? Do they need to force their prayers upon the entire House in order to validate their own beliefs?

It is impossible to be all-inclusive when it comes to religion. If we let the Christians have a prayer then we have to let the Jews have a prayer, and also the Muslims, oh, and what about the Mormons and the Jehova's Witnesses, and don't forget the Scientologists and the Satanists, and did I mention the Pagans, the Wiccans and the Seventh Day Adventists, and it would be rude to exclude Hindus and Taoists.

I know, let's just create a generic prayer that doesn't reference any religion in particular. Well, if I were religious, I'd consider a watered-down prayer designed not to offend anyone to be a slap in the face. If I really believed in the power of prayer, I would want my prayers to reflect my beliefs. And if that meant praying to Jesus, then I surely would not settle for leaving him out.

It is obvious why atheists cry foul whenever a breach occurs in the separation of church and state, but I would argue that theists should be just as concerned. State sanctioned religion can never be all-inclusive. And a generic religion includes almost no one. So why settle for some bureaucrat's idea of what religion should be when you can have it exactly the way you want it in the privacy of your own prayers?

2 Comments:

Blogger kevin said...

This post reminds me of a time when I was teaching in a public school and our lawmakers decided to implement a one-minute moment of silence. This, in my opinion, was little more than a poor attempt to appease the fundamentalist crowd who's goal was to reinsitute school-sanctioned prayer. My suggestion was that rather than mandate a daily minute of silence, a three-hour block (180 school days' worth of 60-second intervals) be set aside on the last day of the school year where those who wished to pray could stay and do so and all others were allowed to leave. No one else saw this as an acceptable solution.

Thu Mar 02, 01:30:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Bruce said...

Hey Kevin, thanks for commenting.

Agreed about the moment of silence. Besides, do students really need help finding a moment of silence? I'm sure most students can find a spare minute for their own moment of silence during the school day (like while they are sleeping in class :-)

I like your idea as well. Can you really practice your religion in one minute? Three hours would allow for sing alongs and animal sacrifices.

Thu Mar 02, 02:37:00 PM 2006  

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