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Author Topic: Prayer and Religion in Public Life  (Read 39507 times)
Mr. Magoo
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« Reply #250 on: December 01, 2012, 04:06:21 PM »

  private organization, they can do whatever they want. be racist, be homophobic, be whatever. thats what freedom is all about.

I disagree.
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tbombz
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« Reply #251 on: December 01, 2012, 08:15:10 PM »

I disagree.
well then i think your an authoritarian who doesnt believe in the freedom to do what you choose so long as your not infringing on others freedoms in the process!
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« Reply #252 on: December 03, 2012, 01:38:33 PM »

references to "God" made in government agencies should be allowed, but there should absolutely never be any mention of any particular religious dogma (such as quoting the bible, checking for bibles in hotel rooms, encouraging church attendance, saying the name "jesus", etc.)

There is nothing wrong with mentioning or say the name of any religious figure in public.  Contrary to what some atheists want and/or believe, the First Amendment isn't about cleansing religion from the public square. 
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« Reply #253 on: December 03, 2012, 01:39:24 PM »

I disagree.

You think private organizations should not be able to discriminate? 
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« Reply #254 on: December 03, 2012, 05:04:43 PM »

There is nothing wrong with mentioning or say the name of any religious figure in public.  Contrary to what some atheists want and/or believe, the First Amendment isn't about cleansing religion from the public square. 

this obviously hinges on the court's interpretation of "respecting".
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« Reply #255 on: December 03, 2012, 05:08:47 PM »

There is nothing wrong with mentioning or say the name of any religious figure in public.  Contrary to what some atheists want and/or believe, the First Amendment isn't about cleansing religion from the public square.  

plenty of christians get their panties in a twist if any religious figure other than a christian religious figure is mentioned in public

here is one example:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akah8HbqXw0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akah8HbqXw0</a>
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« Reply #256 on: December 03, 2012, 05:09:45 PM »

well then i think your an authoritarian who doesnt believe in the freedom to do what you choose so long as your not infringing on others freedoms in the process!

This is a very amateur interpretation. "Free to do whatever as long as you don't infringe upon the freedom of others." This sounds like something a modern libertarian politician would spew out. But the concept of property, for example, infringes on the freedom of others, i.e. "You are no longer free to trespass." But no libertarian is against owning property, so the whole mantra of "free to do whatever as long as it doesn't infringe on others freedoms" should be reformulated.  

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« Reply #257 on: December 03, 2012, 05:12:34 PM »

You think private organizations should not be able to discriminate? 

What do you mean "discriminate"?

But that wasn't what Tbombz said originally anyway. He said private organizations can do "whatever they want" because "that is what freedom is all about".

Private organizations can't do whatever they want, and being able to is not what freedom is all about.
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« Reply #258 on: December 03, 2012, 05:27:29 PM »

this obviously hinges on the court's interpretation of "respecting".

"Respecting" in the First Amendment doesn't mean you have to cleanse religion from the public square.  It doesn't mean you can't have religious symbols on public property.  Or chaplains on the government payroll in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.  Or military chaplains paid for by tax dollars.  Or most of the other things some paranoid atheists run around the country crying about. 
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« Reply #259 on: December 03, 2012, 05:29:32 PM »

What do you mean "discriminate"?

But that wasn't what Tbombz said originally anyway. He said private organizations can do "whatever they want" because "that is what freedom is all about".

Private organizations can't do whatever they want, and being able to is not what freedom is all about.

I thought he was referring to discrimination, but maybe I'm assuming too much. 

No, private organizations (or anyone else for that matter) can't do whatever they want.  I was only talking about discrimination (race, gender, national origin, religion, etc.).
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« Reply #260 on: December 04, 2012, 04:45:45 AM »

This is a very amateur interpretation. "Free to do whatever as long as you don't infringe upon the freedom of others." This sounds like something a modern libertarian politician would spew out. But the concept of property, for example, infringes on the freedom of others, i.e. "You are no longer free to trespass." But no libertarian is against owning property, so the whole mantra of "free to do whatever as long as it doesn't infringe on others freedoms" should be reformulated.  



Good post.
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« Reply #261 on: December 10, 2012, 12:41:09 PM »

Secular group rips Kansas Gov. Brownback for promotion of faith rally
Published December 10, 2012
FoxNews.com

A secular group tore into Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback over the weekend for promoting a national faith rally, saying the Republican governor needs to "repent" for allegedly violating the separation of church and state.

Whether any constitutional boundaries were actually breached is unclear, but Americans United for Separation of Church and State was unsparing in its criticism of the governor.

"The people of Kansas do not need politicians telling us when, how or whether to pray," Vickie Sandell Stangl, president of the Great Plains Chapter of Americans United, said in a statement.

"If anybody needs to repent, it's Gov. Brownback. He needs to repent for violating the constitutional separation of church and state."

The Kansas governor spoke on Saturday at a ReignDown USA event in Topeka, Kan., where he used his 10-minute appearance to discuss how he turned to religion after being diagnosed with cancer in 1995.

According to an account in The Topeka Capital-Journal, Brownback said: "I finally reached up and said, 'God, this life's yours.' It started a great adventure."

But what really rankled Americans United for Separation of Church and State was Brownback's earlier promotion of the prayer rally, in the form of a state proclamation.

"The governor is really overstepping his constitutional bounds. He was elected to serve as governor of our state, not our state pastor-in-chief," Stangl said.

Reached for comment, Executive Director Barry Lynn explained that the group was more concerned with a proclamation put out by the governor's office than his actual remarks at the event.

In the proclamation, Brownback declared Saturday -- the day of the event -- to be a "Day of Restoration."

"We collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God and ask for His mercy on us," the proclamation said.

Brownback, though, also used the proclamation to quote former American presidents -- including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson -- who discussed their faith and God.

"WHEREAS, our Nation's greatest leaders have called on a merciful God for favor during troubled times," the proclamation said, quoting the Jefferson line: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."

Lynn said the proclamation went too far by "proclaiming that this is good for everyone in the state of Kansas." He said the statement was tantamount to making the ReignDown USA rally a "special state event."

The group also accused ReignDown USA organizers of wanting "government leaders to adopt their religious vision and impose it on us all."

Those organizers, though, rejected that claim.

"We were all just gathering, uniting together, and praying for change," said Shawn-Marie Cole, chief visionary officer with the organizer.

Walt Kallestad, president of the group's advisory board, said the event is not about imposing belief sets.

"ReignDown is really a call for humility, prayer, repentance," he said.

It's hardly the first time Brownback has worn his faith on his sleeves.

In August 2011, he joined Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a national prayer rally. It came as Perry was considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Brownback's office and organizers for ReignDown USA have not yet returned requests from FoxNews.com for comment.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/10/secular-group-rips-kansas-gov-brownback-for-promotion-faith-rally/
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« Reply #262 on: December 18, 2012, 11:55:09 AM »

President Obama at Prayer Vigil for Connecticut Shooting Victims: "Newtown, You Are Not Alone"
Ezra Mechaber
December 16, 2012

Today, President Obama traveled to Newtown, CT to meet with the families of those who were lost in Friday's tragic shooting, and to thank first responders for their work.

This evening the President spoke at an interfaith vigil for families of the victims, and all families from Sandy Hook Elementary School. He offered the love and prayers of a nation grieving alongside Newtown:

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation.  I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.  I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.  And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it.

Newtown -- you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice.  We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate.  Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy -- they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances -- with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”

And we know that good guys came.  The first responders who raced to the scene, helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety, and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and trauma because they had a job to do, and others needed them more.

And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren, helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do; one child even trying to encourage a grown-up by saying, “I know karate.  So it’s okay.  I’ll lead the way out.”

As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown.  In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other, and you’ve cared for one another, and you’ve loved one another.  This is how Newtown will be remembered.  And with time, and God’s grace, that love will see you through.
 


President Barack Obama attends the Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
.President Obama also spoke about the need to engage Americans in efforts to prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, reiterating that America's first job is caring for our children:

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations?  Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children -- all of them -- safe from harm?  Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return?  Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.  We’re not doing enough.  And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.  The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors.  The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.  And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America -- victims whose -- much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.  If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/16/president-obama-prayer-vigil-connecticut-shooting-victims-newtown-you-are-not-alone
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« Reply #263 on: January 22, 2013, 12:22:01 PM »

Obama, Biden attend inaugural prayer service at Washington National Cathedral
By Michelle Boorstein, Jan 22, 2013
The Washington Post



Some 2,200 guests filled the Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday morning for the inaugural prayer service, a tradition as old as the country itself.

The service is meant to provide a spiritual boost to the newly sworn-in president. Prominent national clergy — from the Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh traditions — will offer prayers to Obama, who is accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Jill Biden.

By using the word “gay” in his inaugural speech, Obama makes history and elevates a struggle.

A leader from the Metropolitan Community Church, a Christian denomination that focuses on outreach to gays and lesbians, is among the speakers at the service this year for the first time, a moment of inclusion that echoes Obama’s historic outreach to gay Americans in Monday’s inaugural address.

“The reason we come together to pray is because we want the best for our country,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of the Washington Catholic archdiocese, as he entered the cathedral early Tuesday. “We pray for our president, we pray for our vice president. We pray for our leaders as we move forward.”

After the drama and pomp of the inaugural service and the let-loose vibe of Monday night’s inaugural balls, the prayer service — even in the cavernous Gothic cathedral in Northwest Washington — has a more intimate feel, with clergy standing at a one-person, elevated altar, speaking and looking directly at the president as they pray on his behalf.

The most prominent spot on the program belongs to sermon-giver the Rev. Adam Hamilton, leader of a 16,000-member Methodist church in Kansas and whose most popular writings focus on how to take a middle road in relationships, politics and when confronting spiritual doubt.

Hamilton is expected in his sermon to call for that middle road and a God-led path out of partisan bitterness. He will note the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation this year and the heavy emphasis the Bible places on freedom.

Due to high security, guests at the service had to arrive an hour or two early. By mid-morning, the ornate nave looked like the merger of a Washington political gathering and a conference of notables from the clergy community. Heads of think tanks, in sober suits, mingled with clergy from every imaginable faith community wearing a variety of colorful robes and head coverings, from the white wrap of the Bahai to the Jewish yarmulke.

Among the political heavyweights were Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Transportation Secretary Raymond H. LaHood, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Even though the cathedral is an Episcopal church, its vantage point on a Washington hilltop and its dramatic design have made it a symbolic house of worship for many all-community events.

It was here that President Carter sat in 1979, his face in his hands, at an event to pray for the safe return of U.S. hostages being held in Iran. And it was here that President Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan made a surprise stop to light candles in 1982, during a three-day vigil at which the names of thousands of troops killed during the Vietnam War were read.

The cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Church in the United States, is frequently chosen to host memorial services and events honoring prominent American leaders from across the political spectrum. But its leaders have made news in recent weeks by taking progressive social stands.

The Rev. Gary Hall, the cathedral’s new dean, announced in December that the cathedral would begin hosting same-gender weddings, and he also has taken up the cause of gun control in the wake of last month’s Newtown, Conn., shootings.

There have been inaugural prayer services since the time of George Washington, but they have been held consistently at the cathedral since 1933, with the exception of the services after the inaugurations of Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1997.

Clinton chose the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in downtown Washington, as the site for his prayer services. The Obama family worshipped at Metropolitan on Sunday.

Among those participating in the service at the cathedral are: Wuerl; the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America and leader of the Sterling mega-mosque All Dulles Area Muslim Society; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of rabbis from Judaism’s Conservative movement; and the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obama-biden-to-attend-inaugural-prayer-service-at-cathedral-on-tuesday/2013/01/22/9223bad8-64a0-11e2-b84d-21c7b65985ee_story.html
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« Reply #264 on: February 07, 2013, 07:58:32 PM »

President Obama speaks about faith and 'humility' at National Prayer Breakfast

'You'd like to think that the shelf life wasn't so short," Obama said of the annual event's bipartisan spirit. 'But I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn’t pray.'
 
By Kristen A. Lee / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, February 7, 2013

President Obama celebrated the bipartisan spirit of the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, while joking about its fleeting nature, during a speech to the gathering in Washington.

Obama largely stayed away from partisan issues while speaking to the mixed crowd, but made a plea for “humility,” saying it’s most important for those with the most power.

“I have to say this is now our fifth prayer breakfast and it is always just a wonderful event. But I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten — on the same day of the prayer breakfast,” Obama said, to laughter from the group. “I mean, you'd like to think that the shelf life wasn't so short. But I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn’t pray.”

“And so my hope is that humility, that that carries over every day, every moment,” he added.

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed for the bipartisan gathering. This was the 61st prayer breakfast since 1953.

Vice President Biden also attended the gathering, as did a diverse group of VIPs, including Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole and singer Andrea Bocelli.

“It says something about us — as a nation and as a people — that every year, for 61 years now, this great prayerful tradition has endured,” Obama said. “It says something about us that every year, in times of triumph and in tragedy, in calm and in crisis, we come together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as brothers and sisters, and as children of God.”

A reportedly sleepy Secretary of State John Kerry chatted with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the breakfast. He was sure to broaden his remarks to also include the importance of faith to Americans of different religions, and note that nonbelieving Americans have faith in the nation.

Obama also spoke in unusually personal terms about the importance of Scripture in his own life.

“As President, sometimes I have to search for the words to console the inconsolable,” he said. “Sometimes I search Scripture to determine how best to balance life as a President and as a husband and as a father. I often search for Scripture to figure out how I can be a better man as well as a better President.”

'I often search for Scripture to figure out how I can be a better man as well as a better President,' Obama told the gathering. He noted that he took the oath of office last month on Bibles owned by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., saying he imagined they both found solace in Scripture at difficult times.

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, introduced the President.

“You carry burdens none of us in this room can imagine,” he said.

Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, may be feeling the burden of his new job.

A White House pool report noted that he yawned and rubbed his eyes through most of the breakfast.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-urges-humility-national-prayer-breakfast-article-1.1257904
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« Reply #265 on: February 08, 2013, 02:06:24 PM »


Reverend Al Sharpton expels God in MSNBC promo sermon

By Dan Gainor
Published February 08, 2013
FoxNews.com

Jan. 21, 2013: Rev. Al Sharpton arrives on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, , for the President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. ((AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool))

 Jesus said to Peter: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Then came MSNBC. Now it’s God the network is trying to push out of the way. And it’s a reverend, of all people, who is doing it.

Rev. Al Sharpton appeared in a “Lean Forward” ad for his network MSNBC on February 5, where he recited a bit of the Pledge of Allegiance. The 58-year-old Sharpton, who reportedly gave his first sermon at age 9, left God out of his piece of the pledge. But he did remember to include lesbians and gays. So, he’s got that goin’ for him.

“We must have a renewed fight for many of the things we fought for. Because voting rights, and women's rights, and the rights of people against discrimination, whether they're African-American, Latino, lesbian and [sic] gay, must be protected, until we have a nation that is really living up to the creed of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Not all of one kind. But all,” Rev. Sharpton argued in the commercial.


For all of his faults, Sharpton has a very long history of involvement with and defense of Christian faith.

That’s not how the pledge goes and has done so since 1954, a few months before Rev. Sharpton, the host of MSNBC's “Politics Nation,” was born. The actual pledge was changed that year to include “under God.” That version of the pledge goes like this:

“I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

Rev. Sharpton removing God is shocking. For all of his faults, he has a very long history of involvement with and defense of Christian faith. According to Rev. Sharpton’s AEI Speakers Bureau profile page, he preached “his first sermon at Washington Temple Church of God & Christ in Brooklyn” at age 9 and later became a Pentecostal minister under Washington Temple Church’s Bishop F. D. Washington. “Sharpton preaches throughout the United States and abroad on most Sundays and averages 80 formal sermons a year,” the profile continued.

But then it noted that “Sharpton says his religious convictions are the basis for his life.” Apparently, commercials aren’t included.

While the reverend has been a major part of civil rights history in the United States, he has been caught up in his share of huge controversies. 

On January 19, NPR ran a list of “Six True-False Statements” that illustrated his complicated career. Those included his role in the bogus Tawana Brawley rape case, where he lost a $65,000 defamation judgment, and links to the Crown Heights riots in New York City.

One funny note from the piece was that Rev. Sharpton denied being James Brown’s tour manager. (Yes, the Godfather of Soul.) “I never was his road manager,” he is quoted as saying. His speakers bureau profile says otherwise. “This same year, Sharpton acted as James Brown's tour manager,” it still reads. Oopsie.

It’s almost impossible to synopsize the remaining lunacy that has summed up Rev. Sharpton’s career from calls for knife control (unsurprising since he was once stabbed in the chest) to tax and debt issues to being caught in an FBI drug sting and openly advising President Obama as one of a few “influential progressives.”

He remains a colorful character so ridiculous that he is hard to lampoon. That said, “Saturday Night Live” mustered a good parody of his show last May in this entertaining clip that strangely also included Mick Jagger.

Whether he’s a TV host or a laughingstock, Shapton has long acknowledged it’s the job of a reverend to help others find God, not edit him out. Of course, that was before his personal collection plate relied on the big MSNBC paycheck.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/02/08/reverend-al-sharpton-expels-god-in-msnbc-promo-sermon/
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« Reply #266 on: February 20, 2013, 07:18:02 PM »

Anderson County Commission endorses 'In God We Trust' on courthouse
By Bob Fowler
Knoxville News Sentinel
Posted February 19, 2013

CLINTON — The nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” will be going up on the outside of the Anderson County Courthouse following a 12-4 vote of County Commission after more than two hours of impassioned debate Tuesday.

With a standing-room-only audience spilling out into the courthouse hallway, commissioners approved the request, providing no unforeseen roadblocks emerge after study.

The issue was sent to the panel’s operations committee and the county law director to research potential legal liabilities, the possible design of the inscription and its placement.

“It’s our national motto,” said Lee Frank, husband of Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, who brought the request made by a local businessman to the commission’s attention.

“It’s on our money. It’s been ruled totally constitutional,” he said. “We don’t need to deal with that ACLU crap here.”

Still, the request sparked fervent comments and a revival-like atmosphere in the crowded meeting room, with remarks endorsing the move greeted by frequent applause and punctuated by numerous “amens.”

The mayor’s bid to include the request in her routine report to commission resulted in a crucial initial vote to put the matter on the agenda. Commissioner Myron Iwanski said standard procedure called for the issue to be referred to committee before going before the full commission. Doing so would give commissioners “a chance to think it through and do it in a very orderly way,” he said.

But a motion to consider the request received the requisite two-thirds majority, or 11 votes, to place it directly before commission.

The overwhelming majority of audience members who spoke strongly endorsed the move, launched by Lynn Byrge and supported by pastors of a reported 62 Anderson County churches.

But those who voiced opposition asked whether it would be a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, and if it would be seen as a governmental endorsement of Christianity.

“I see it as an intrusion and it should not be done,” said Ruth Young. She said those who oppose the move haven’t had an opportunity to speak.

Oak Ridge Councilwoman Anne Garcia Garland said there could be an issue of legal liability. “The government needs to be apart from any mention of God,” she said.

“I don’t see why it should really be that controversial,” said the Rev. Mike Thompson, pastor of Second Baptist Church of Clinton. “We do believe this is a part of our nation’s history and heritage.”

“We believe it speaks to who we are,” said the Rev. Steve McDonald, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Oak Ridge. He called it a “visible standard that says we have to look to somebody for guidance.”

“Why do we need that on our courthouse when there are other places to put it?” Commissioner Harry “Whitey” Hitchcock asked.

Another commissioner, Robert McKamey, said his motion to put the motto up “is a vote of confidence that we’re going to do it, and we’re going to do it right.”

Supporters have pledged to pay for all costs to place the motto on the courthouse.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/feb/19/anderson-county-commission-endorses-in-god-we-on/
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« Reply #267 on: March 13, 2013, 12:37:34 PM »

 Smiley

Psalm 23, Newly Revised According to Modern Principles
Proverbial wisdom for the Age of Obama
By MARK HELPRIN

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of debt, I fear no bankruptcy, for Obama is my shepherd. He prepareth a table of food stamps before me, and maketh me lie down beside waters He hath cleansed and seas He hath made recede, even though the bad Republicans wisheth the earth to be burnt unto a cinder, and will not buy the electric car that is good, for it hath zero emissions, and receiveth its power from a power plant, which hath not zero emissions, but the ways of the President are mysterious.

He hath told the stubborn Israelites, evil builders of apartments, that they know not their own interests and He does, and know not what they do, when they fear the nuclear weapon of the Persians. The ways of the President are mysterious. He alloweth the Persians to get the nuclear weapon (unless He hath something up His sleeve), for He knoweth that when they behold Him they will stay their hand, and not burn the Israelites unto a cinder, as they pronounce.

Yea, though Bernanke maketh funny money that will not compute, Obama prepareth a statistical table in front of the bad Republicans that showeth it will, if only they have faith. Fear not the Hellenes and the path they have trod. Though for sure we shall follow them, the President will be our sword, and our shield. His Hillary Rodham and his staff, they comfort us.

Fear not the Chinois, whose power waxes as ours wanes, for someday thy children's children shall journey over the sea that Obama hath made recede, west of the land of Geffen and Famous Amos, to build railroads for Beijing. Then the Third World will have inherited the earth, and the strong will have been laid low, which is good, and which is also the Democratic platform.

Verily, we should be like the meek of the earth, and follow the commands of the President, the Amalekites, the EPA, and the IRS, which taketh our money, which is good, for we know not what to do with it. And Obama does, for you did not buildeth that. Once, we were slaves in the land of Reagan (and if you attributeth the "Reagan" deficits to increased military spending and lowered tax rates, tryeth accounting for the changes in military expenditure and tax revenues in the Reagan years, for, lo, when combined they yieldeth a surplus). Then, we were sinners, in spending our own money for what we thought was our own good. But now we are free, for the President spendeth it for us, and He maketh miracles, for, lo, He roasteth invisible chickens, and, lo, He spendeth money that existeth not, that Bernanke printeth. And, lo, it buys us stuff, for now.

Yea, though I accumulate debt higher than the mountains of Gilboa, and the deadbeats skip like rams, I shall not want, for Bernanke maketh funny money, and the President smiles upon the land, but not upon the bad Republicans. For they wisheth to live within their means, which surely must be evil. And what would you expect from people who are suspicious of Social Security? And wisheth to burn the earth unto a cinder.

But arithmetic notwithstanding, I will dwell in the house of Obama all the days of my life. (Why not four terms, and what about Michelle? For the Constitution liveth.) And, the earth having been purified, surely it will be good when—and where do I apply for—government assistance will be the only thing left.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323940004578255810468323252.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0
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« Reply #268 on: April 03, 2013, 03:09:39 PM »

Ohio school takes down Jesus portrait under legal threat
Published April 03, 2013
FoxNews.com


Feb. 12, 2013: A painting of Jesus Christ, upper left, hanging above an entrance to Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio, next to a 'Hall of Honor' showing famous Jackson residents and school alumni. (AP)
A portrait of Jesus that had adorned a southern Ohio public school district building since 1947 has been taken down after officials decided they could not risk losing a lawsuit to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The superintendent of Jackson City Schools told The Associated Press that the decision was made after the district's insurance company declined to cover litigation expenses. Phil Howard said a student club that the school says owns the portrait took it down Wednesday morning at his direction.

"At the end of the day, we just couldn't roll the dice with taxpayer money," Howard said. "When you get into these kinds of legal battles, you're not talking about money you can raise with bake sales and car washes. It's not fair to take those resources from our kids' education."

The ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation had sued on behalf of a student and two parents, calling the portrait an unconstitutional promotion of religion in a public school. An ACLU spokesman says the lawsuit remains in effect, but will be dropped if the portrait stays down.

The "Head of Christ," a popular depiction of Jesus, had been in an entranceway's "Hall of Honor" in a middle school building that was formerly a high school. It was near portraits of dozens of prominent alumni and people with local roots such as the late four-term Ohio Gov. James Rhodes. The portrait was moved recently by a Christian-based service club to the current high school building.

A complaint that triggered the February lawsuit put the 2,500-student district in the midst of the ongoing national debate over what religious-themed displays are permissible.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/03/ohio-superintendent-removes-jesus-portrait-due-to-lawsuit-concerns/
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« Reply #269 on: May 20, 2013, 12:34:58 PM »

Supreme Court will rule on prayer at government meetings
Richard Wolf, USA TODAY11:57 a.m. EDT May 20, 2013

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether prayers can be offered at government meetings -- a practice that's been common in Congress and throughout the states for more than two centuries.

The religious expression case, which comes to the court from the town of Greece, N.Y., focuses on the first 10 words of the First Amendment, ratified in 1791: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

That Establishment Clause was violated, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year, when the Greece Town Board repeatedly used Christian clergy to conduct prayers at the start of its public meetings. The decision created a rift with other appeals courts that have upheld prayer at public meetings, prompting the justices to step in.

Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian non-profit group, appealed the case to the Supreme Court. It is supported in separate briefs by 49 mostly Republican members of Congress and 18 state attorneys general.

In a press release entitled "Prayer will be heard on high," the group noted the high court affirmed the practice of prayer before public meetings in the 1983 case Marsh v. Chambers, in which it cited an "unambiguous and unbroken history" of such prayers.

But recent legal attacks by individuals and groups claiming to be offended by such prayers have created significant confusion in the lower courts.

"A few people should not be able to extinguish the traditions of our nation merely because they heard something they didn't like," said Brett Harvey, a senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. "Because the authors of the Constitution invoked God's blessing on public proceedings, this tradition shouldn't suddenly be deemed unconstitutional."

Thomas Hungar of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, the attorney who filed the challenge, said, "The practice of legislative prayer is firmly embedded in the history and traditions of this nation. We hope the court will reaffirm the settled understanding that such prayers, offered without improper motive and in accordance with the conscience of the prayer-giver, are constitutional."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, is representing the two women who challenged the town's practice, Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens. The group said that two-thirds of the prayers delivered between 1999 and June 2010 contained references to Jesus Christ, Your Son, the Holy Spirit or Jesus.

"A town council meeting isn't a church service, and it shouldn't seem like one," said Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Government can't serve everyone in the community when it endorses one faith over others. That sends the clear message that some are second-class citizens based on what they believe about religion."

Kenneth Klukowski, a lawyer for the Family Research Council who filed a brief on behalf of the 49 U.S. House members, said the Supreme Court was correct to take the case to clear up differences among lower courts on the issue of religious expression. It represents the first such case to reach the high court in a generation, he said.

"If the Second Circuit's decision is what the Establishment Clause requires, then Congress has been violating the Establishment Clause since it was ratified in 1791," Klukowski said. His brief notes that in the 112th Congress, 97% of the prayers used to open House sessions were Christian, as opposed to Jewish or Muslim, yet the practice is widely accepted.

The court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October. Its decision, expected by June 2014, could have broad implications for public schools and events, as well as for individuals who seek to convey religious messages.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/20/supreme-court-prayer-new-york-government-meeting/2151385/
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« Reply #270 on: June 06, 2013, 12:09:01 PM »

Nice.   Smiley

High School Valedictorian Recites Lord's Prayer At Graduation In Defiance Of Prayer Ban (VIDEO)
Posted: 06/05/2013 6:15 pm EDT  |  Updated: 06/05/2013 7:45 pm EDT

While delivering his graduation speech over the weekend, a high school valedictorian sent shock waves through the crowd when he ditched his original speech and recited the Lord's Prayer instead.

According to NBC affiliate KCRA.com, Roy Costner IV, who attended Liberty High School in Liberty, S.C., stunned those gathered at his school's graduation ceremony on Saturday when he ripped up his pre-approved speech at the podium before addressing the crowd.

“Those that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today. I’m so thankful that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age," Costner said moments before launching into the Lord's Prayer.

Christian News reports that Costner had apparently decided to recite the prayer in protest of his school district's decision to omit prayer at graduation ceremonies.

As Costner prayed, many of those gathered broke out into applause. Soon the auditorium was filled with cheers of encouragement.

"You couldn't even hear him doing the prayer anymore because everybody was clapping and cheering," Brian Hoover, who attended the graduation, told KCRA.com.

Costner told Fox Carolina this week that it had been "an emotional moment," looking out and seeing the crowd's reaction.

A spokesperson for the Pickens County School District said that Costner would not be reprimanded for his prayer. "The bottom line is, we're not going to punish students for expressing their religious faith," John Eby said, according to Christian News.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/high-school-valedictorian-prayer_n_3391963.html?utm_hp_ref=religion
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« Reply #271 on: August 05, 2013, 01:09:30 PM »

An atheist chaplain.  How utterly ridiculous. 

Chaplains for Atheists: Messy Implications for Atheism
By Wallace Henley, Special to CP
August 1, 2013

The House of Representatives voted July 23 against proposals for atheist chaplains in the U.S. military. The vote was an overwhelming defeat for the idea. Only two Republicans and 171 Democrats voted for atheist chaplains.

Contrary to what you may be reading, Christians should be disappointed and atheists should be glad.

Why? Because allowing atheist chaplains recognizes atheism as a religion and would make atheists subject to the same legal restrictions they have gleefully placed on every other religion.

In the contemporary environment it is easier to speak against God than for God in the public square. An officially sanctioned military chaplaincy for atheists could actually weaken the atheists' grip on public religious expression.

After all, it was a Supreme Court justice who, in 1961, recognized non-belief in a deity as religion. "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others," opined Justice Hugo Black, in a footnote in the Torcaso v Watkins case.

Atheists seem to want atheism to be a religion.

"Humanism fills the same role for atheists that Christianity does for Christians and Judaism does for Jews," said Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, in support of the atheist chaplaincy proposal.

If atheists want it, it's about time, therefore, that atheism should be recognized for what it is – a belief system regarding deity and ultimate reality. It has its own creeds, high priests, and scriptures. Bygone prophets like Bertrand Russell are revered along with the contemporary evangelists of atheism, like Richard Dawkins. The late Christopher Hitchens is among its saints.

Appointing atheist chaplains would give official sanction of sorts to the religious nature of atheism. In fact, atheism focuses passionately on spirituality. It works feverishly to deny the spiritual nature of the human being, and only wants the chaplains for ethical and psychological guidance.

In that light, maybe advocates for an atheist military chaplaincy might rethink their position.

Think about the inferences.

Now, every time a non-theist squeaks opposition to prayer at a school ballgame, or before a city council meeting, or most any other public event, powerful movements mobilize. The mere lifting of a potentially litigating eyebrow shuts down what many consider freedom of speech and expression.

Atheism's well-financed institutions often base their arguments on the allegation that taxpayer money is being used to advocate a particular religion. But if atheism is seen for what it is, a religion, then theists might be able to claim their tax money is now used to advocate the atheist position of no prayer.

So if atheism is recognized as a religion, might it be possible that theists could have new standing? They might even be able to argue that authorities are unconstitutionally favoring the religion of atheism by restricting prayer to a deity?

The Founders, we are reminded, opposed a state religion. But today secular humanism is most definitely the American state religion in the eyes of some courts. Atheists use their religion to regularly win orders for the removal of crosses and other religious symbols, the abolition of prayer in certain public institutions, and the prohibition of teaching that might imply advocacy of any religion in public schools except atheism.

This atheist chaplain thing could get messy for the atheists. If they are recognized as religionists they may be under the same Big Brother search lamp, legal threats and harassment theistic religions face every day throughout the nation.

Perhaps its advocates should rethink their position. After all, they might lose the power to remove all those terribly offensive Christmas nativity scenes.

Maybe the stables, mangers, shepherds and animals could be replaced with Professor Hawking's "fluctuating void." Which would mean the crèches would be replaced with nothing – a perfect symbol for their religion.


Wallace Henley, senior associate pastor at Houston's Second Baptist Church. He is an adjunct professor in worldview studies at Belhaven University. Henley is a former newspaper editor and reporter, and served in the White House and as a staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. His book, Globequake, was published by Thomas Nelson.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/chaplains-for-atheists-messy-implications-for-atheism-101341/#uyHb7hgh4pbPcv7D.99
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« Reply #272 on: October 16, 2013, 11:23:03 PM »

"Paranoid anti-religious extremists".. Oh, wait...

House Stenographer Yanked From Chamber Ranting About God, Freemasons

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/10/house-stenographer-yanked-from-chamber-ranting-about-god-freemasons/

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« Reply #273 on: October 28, 2013, 01:19:11 PM »

Speaking of paranoid anti-religious extremists . . . .  Those folks need to get a life already. 

Atheist group seeks end to Alabama grief counseling by clergy
Published October 26, 2013
FoxNews.com

An atheist group is asking the city of Montgomery to provide evidence that sending clergy to support victims at violent crime scenes will reduce crime in the city.

The organization American Atheists has questioned how providing grief counseling after a crime will reduce the number of crimes in the city.

The group claims Montgomery's Operation Good Shepherd program is unconstitutional. 

“Considering that the program sends pastors to crime scenes after the fact to console victims, American Atheists questions the city’s claim that grief counseling for victims is for the purpose of reducing violent crime or acting as a deterrent,” the organization told AL.com.

“American atheists will be requesting that city officials provide the studies or other factual evidence they are using to support this claim for which taxpayer dollars are being used,” the group said.

City officials told al.com the new program dispatches trained clergy to comfort victims at crime scenes in an effort to combat violent crime. City officials said the purpose of the program is not for "religious promotion or recruitment."

Montgomery Police Department Chaplain E. Baxter Morris said the program offers an “evangelistic advance,” and said it gives him an opportunity to “share a word from Christ” to victims, AL.com reported.

According to the report, American Atheists claim the city is using the program “as a vehicle to proselytize.”

Montgomery City Attorney Kimberly Fehl said in a letter to American Atheists that religious leaders had volunteered to provide the counseling.

Fehl’s said in the letter that there has been a “misrepresentation of the objective and implementation of the program,” AL.com reported. Fehl said the program is part of many used by the Montgomery Police Department in its effort to combat violent crime.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/26/atheist-group-seeks-end-to-alabama-grief-counseling-by-clergy/?intcmp=latestnews
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« Reply #274 on: October 29, 2013, 06:29:48 AM »

Speaking of paranoid anti-religious extremists . . . .  Those folks need to get a life already.  

Atheist group seeks end to Alabama grief counseling by clergy
Published October 26, 2013
FoxNews.com

An atheist group is asking the city of Montgomery to provide evidence that sending clergy to support victims at violent crime scenes will reduce crime in the city.

The organization American Atheists has questioned how providing grief counseling after a crime will reduce the number of crimes in the city.

The group claims Montgomery's Operation Good Shepherd program is unconstitutional.  

“Considering that the program sends pastors to crime scenes after the fact to console victims, American Atheists questions the city’s claim that grief counseling for victims is for the purpose of reducing violent crime or acting as a deterrent,” the organization told AL.com.

“American atheists will be requesting that city officials provide the studies or other factual evidence they are using to support this claim for which taxpayer dollars are being used,” the group said.

City officials told al.com the new program dispatches trained clergy to comfort victims at crime scenes in an effort to combat violent crime. City officials said the purpose of the program is not for "religious promotion or recruitment."

Montgomery Police Department Chaplain E. Baxter Morris said the program offers an “evangelistic advance,” and said it gives him an opportunity to “share a word from Christ” to victims, AL.com reported.

According to the report, American Atheists claim the city is using the program “as a vehicle to proselytize.”

Montgomery City Attorney Kimberly Fehl said in a letter to American Atheists that religious leaders had volunteered to provide the counseling.

Fehl’s said in the letter that there has been a “misrepresentation of the objective and implementation of the program,” AL.com reported. Fehl said the program is part of many used by the Montgomery Police Department in its effort to combat violent crime.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/26/atheist-group-seeks-end-to-alabama-grief-counseling-by-clergy/?intcmp=latestnews

I have to assume that the American Atheists that raised the issue brought forth factual evidence concerning why the grief counseling by clergy doesn't help in these circumstances first before requesting evidence that is does, correct?    I also have to assume that the American Atheists also brought forth a throughly planned alternative for the volunteer clergy that causes no additional burden for the taxpayer whatsoever while improving the level of counseling?   Or if the alternative proposed did cause increased burden for taxpayers that definite justification for the alternative was presented?

I can't imagine that the group just capriciously raised the objection, immediately demanded some form of validating study and yet offered no initial support to back their objections while not providing a more efficient, improved alternative for the existing volunteer counseling.  

Is the American Atheist group that raised the objection highly experienced in grief counseling and crime prevention methods?  I have to assume that there was more behind the objection other than their own personal objections to theists in general.

Did the American Atheist group provide data that showed that victims that received counseling were unhappy with the guidance they received?   Did the American Atheists provide data that indicates that the grief counseling was only a thinly veiled attempt to convert victims to the clergy-counseler's particular brand of faith?  Did the American Atheists group provide any studies that indicated that post-incident the victims that received counseling from pastors had their quality of life diminished?  Again, I have to assume that the objections were grounded in some of these kinds of ideas and data before the objections were raised.  

If these preliminary conditions were met (and accompanied the initial objections) then demands for independent studies by the local government in support of the theists' volunteer efforts would seem reasonable.  If not the objections seem like good ole fashioned grandstanding, but really nothing more than prattle.
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