Friday, January 16, 2009

The Audacity of Prayer

Yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected an injunction that would have prevented religious references during the upcoming presidential inauguration in a lawsuit brought about from an atheist group led by Michael Newdow and Dan Barker. This is the third time that Newdow has failed to stop the prayers. Thank God that the third time wasn't the charm. He tried to file injunctions during Bush's past two inaugurations, also.

The atheist group was attempting to take away Obama's freedom of religious expression by filing a lawsuit to prohibit any references to religion in the festivities. They didn't want any prayers in the ceremony, "So help me, God," to be included at the end of his oath, or Obama to take his oath by placing his hand on the Bible. No one is forcing the president-elect to keep the religious aspect to the ceremony. If Obama didn't want them, he could have taken it out, but he wanted to keep it. In fact, he made a personal request to use the same Bible that Lincoln used at his first inauguration.

"The inauguration is not a religious event. It is a secular event of a secular country that includes all Americans, including those of us who are not Christians, including those of us who are not believers," Dan Barker, the Freedom From Religion leader said.

He's obviously forgetting that this country is founded on Judeo/Christian principles. From John Smith to the Pilgrims, the first Americans came to the New World seeking refuge from the English monarchy which forced their people to belong to the Church of England and practice their rituals. They kept them from practicing and proclaiming their own beliefs in public. Now, they want to do the same thing, today, in this country.

The Declaration of Independence specifically says that "Nature's God" entitled us the ability to govern ourselves. In addition, it specifically says that we were also "endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights". The founders put a reference to a higher power at the beginning of the document twice. This is proof that we are a country founded on religious principles not totally secular ones.

America was founded on the concept of a "universal" God. There wasn't just one denomination or sect that was dominant over the others. According to recent poll, 92% of Americans that believe in God in one form or another or a universal spirit. Why would we totally take God out of our public and political lives? As long as the prayers are more on the generic side and focus on God and not Jesus, there is no reason why it shouldn't be included.

They want the state religion to be agnostic and force everyone to comply with their lack of beliefs in public, so they won't feel "uncomfortable". In order to make a few people "comfortable", the rest of America must feel awkward wanting to express their beliefs but forced not to by the concern for their comfort levels.

"Yet, we are subjected to someone else's religious views with the endorsement of the government, which makes us feel like second class outsiders," Barker continued. Apparently, they want to make the overwhelming majority in this country that are religious in anyway feel like outsiders instead. That seems very intolerant for those who say they want tolerance for their beliefs or rather the lack thereof.

Michael Newdow is an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church and the founder of the First Amendment Church of True Science (FACTS).

"The First Amendment reminds us that people see things differently, and guarantees that every individual will be afforded an opportunity to express (themselves) and follow (their) own conscience," said Michael Newdow in his first "sermon" given as FACTS founder. If this is how he believes, why is he wanting to take away Obama and everyone else's ability to express themselves religiously or follow their own conscience regarding their beliefs and actions?

"I hope people understand this is not an anti-God issue -- this is a pro-equality issue," Newdow told The Associated Press. "And it's not treating people equal when the government takes one side in a religious debate." That's a bit of a oxymoron when considering that the judge is going to have to take sides in making a decision, and he wants the judge to "choose" their side of argument.

Religion is defined as "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe...and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

Newdow has described how he believes as a "religion", and by definition, how atheists' believe is a religion. So, if they don't want the government to "pick sides" in matters of religion, the government cannot choose their "religion" either. They shouldn't try to prevent people from praying in public. In doing so, they would be favoring the position of the atheist "religion" over all others.

Another example of their hypocrisy: On Tuesday lawyers representing the atheists submitted the 1952 Supreme Court brief filed by the United States in Brown v. Board of Education, the case the declared segregated schools unconstitutional. They used a quote out of the brief from Harry Truman to justify their demands.

"We shall not finally achieve the ideals for which this nation was founded so long as any American suffers discrimination as a result of his race, or religion, or color, or the land of origin of his forefathers," Truman said.

How can they site a court case that gave people freedoms who should have them in the first place in order to take away freedoms from other people that should have them, too? That just seems wrong on so many levels. Also, I might be wrong, but wouldn't forbidding anyone to express themselves religiously through prayer or otherwise be the kind of religious discrimination that Truman was talking about?

"These atheists who are suing to prevent prayer at the inauguration are showing a fundamental misunderstanding of what the First Amendment is all about. The establishment of religion that is forbidden by the First Amendment means the official declaration of an official national church. It doesn't mean that public ceremonies can not include prayers or acknowledgment of the existence of God," Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, told FOX News Radio.

"The atheists, while they have every right to practice their atheism, they do not have an absolute right not to be exposed to viewpoints they don't agree with,"  Sprigg continued.

Another attack on Obama came a month ago. The far left were all in a tizzy over one of his choices of preachers. Rev. Rick Warren was tapped by Obama to give a prayer at the ceremony. Liberals called it a "slap in the face" to them, especially gay rights activists.

Warren has caught a lot of heat from the left for vocally opposing Prop. 8, the amendment to California's state constitution that defines marriage between a man and a woman. The passing of Prop. 8 made gay marriage illegal again, trumping the ruling made by the activist judges in Sacramento. One of the more vocal critics of the pick was everyone's favorite House bloviater, Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat.

"Giving that kind of mark of approval and honor to someone who has frankly spoken in ways I and many others have found personally very offensive, I thought that was a mistake for the president-elect to do,” said Frank.

Well, if saying something that offends many or not is the yardstick that determines who gets to speak or not, than Frank shouldn't speak either. He has been quoted as saying that conservatives “believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth”. I know that about half of America might be offended at that.

This kind of hypocrisy is par for the course for many on the left that preach tolerance and diversity while refusing to be tolerant of anyone's decision to be more diverse in who they associate with professionally especially if they have a "R" after their name.

Why is it so hard to believe that Obama might respect Warren enough to bestow him this honor? After all, their views on gay marriage is almost identical. Rev. Warren is against redefining marriage, but he is for civil unions and other gay rights.

Obama said at the presidential candidate forum at the Saddleback Church, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian it is also a sacred union." That is exactly almost the same as Warren's position. The only difference is that Obama didn't want the definition to be added to the constitution.

They have a selective memory, when it comes to the "chosen one". They will forgive him of anything, but if you are a conservative, you are demonized.

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