Friday, August 31, 2007

ACLU Tries to Remove Jesus From Public Sector

Gordon James Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain who sacrificed his career to help change national policy, allowing military chaplains to publicly pray "in Jesus' name" – even in uniform, explains how the ACLU is attempting to remove Jesus from the public sector.
Anti-Jesus activists threatened lawsuits in Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and New York this month to stop Christians from praying "in Jesus' name" or publicly expressing their faith.

In Iowa, activist lawyer Mikey Weinstein declared victory over the Veterans Administration, claiming the agency caved into his demands to remove Christian symbols from the chapel in the Iowa VA hospital, and also promised to ban Christians who sing hymns (such as "The Old Rugged Cross") in the common-use area. Sadly, the VA also appears eager to silence Christian chaplains, depriving veterans who want Christian ministry in their time of need.

In North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue the town of Clayton after Councilman Bob Satterfield bravely prayed "in Jesus' name" to open a public meeting. "I know who I pray to, and if other people want to pray to that chair over there, they're welcome to. It was my turn to do the invocation, and I did it the way I know how," Satterfield said.

But ACLU attorney Jennifer Rudinger fired back, threatening a lawsuit: "The law is pretty clear. The courts have ruled that it's legal to have an invocation at government functions, but it has to be non-sectarian."

Actually, the courts have mandated no such thing. In the 1983 Marsh v. Chambers case, the Supreme Court upheld 6-3 a chaplain's right to pray a "non-sectarian" prayer on the floor of any legislature, but stopped short of mandating all prayers be "non-sectarian."

Instead, the Supreme Court specifically forbid any government from censoring public prayers or requiring "non-sectarian" prayer content, ruling in 1991 in Lee v. Weisman: "The government may not establish an official or civic religion as a means of avoiding the establishment of a religion with more specific creeds. ... The State's role did not end with the decision to include a prayer and with the choice of clergyman. [They] provided a copy of the 'Guidelines for Civic Occasions' and advised him that his prayers should be non-sectarian. Through these means, [they] directed and controlled the content of the prayers. ... It is a cornerstone principle of our Establishment Clause jurisprudence that it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers."

Too bad the ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court, as the organization advocates establishing a illegal state religion, censoring free speech, enforcing religious conformity on everybody who prays in public, and demanding violators be excluded or punished with government sword.

In Ohio, more evidence of anti-Jesus intimidation came in the Legislature, when the chairman of the state Democratic Party, Rep. Chris Redfern, walked off the floor after hearing Rev. Keith Hamblen pray "in Jesus' name." The next day, the Ohio clerk issued new prayer guidelines requiring "non-sectarian" prayer content, and a 72-hour pre-authorization of each prayer offered.

"Prayers before the House should be nondenominational, nonsectarian and nonproselytizing," the guidelines say. Sadly, even the Republican-controlled Ohio statehouse now excludes Christians who pray "in Jesus' name." Will anybody in Ohio call his or her legislator at 1-800-282-0253, or contact them at this website?

Thank God not all legislators have caved in. This month in Greece, N.Y., the ACLU threatened a local town supervisor, demanding he enforce "non-sectarian" prayer content at board meetings and stop praying "in Jesus' name." But one government official bravely stood his ground and protected liberty.

John T. Auberger said, "It is the town's position that we are not advancing any religion or giving preference to any one faith over another. Accordingly, it is our intent to continue our current practice." So they protect free speech, even if somebody prays "in Jesus' name."

Scott Forsyth, an ACLU attorney, might sue. He said there's no issue with the board having a prayer, but rather with the content. "We are hoping the town will come in with some written policy on the subject that conforms to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings," he said.

Amen, brother! I also agree with the Supreme Court. But the ACLU is dead wrong, and deceives the public with half-truths. I therefore pray Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina and New York will soon issue prayer guidelines conforming to the 1991 Lee v. Weisman ruling, stating something like: "The government may not establish an official or civic religion. We cannot advise that prayers be non-sectarian, nor may we control the content of prayers. We therefore welcome diversity, allowing everyone to take turns praying according to their conscience, even if they pray 'in Jesus' name, Amen.'"


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