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  • Lance Mannion
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Bravo, Lance! Bravo!!!

Doug K

Public prayer either:
1. assumes we are all the same faith, which betrays the ideals of our founders and is profoundly anti-American (in the special USA sense); or
2. is meaningless prattle, a devaluation of the faith it purports to be expressing, which is offensive to the members of that faith.
As Jesus taught his followers, Matthew 6:5,
"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words."

I still have the US History study paper for my Naturalization Civics Test, which says,
"Freedom of Religion
The right for people to choose how to worship or to not worship at all."
If prayer is not worship, then it is nothing at all.

Luckily as Dahlia Lithwick says, "you are free to sit quietly and give thanks that you still live in a free country. Amen."
Guess that's the best we can do in our fallen days..


George Washington, on his election was sent a letter from the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island asking if Jews in our new nation could expect "tolerance" for their faith.

Washington sent this:


While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.
G. Washington

Scalia, Roberts, et al do not have a problem with me. Their problem is with George Washington.

S McCoy

Lance, I don't care much for public, sanctioned prayer. I dislike even more your description of evangelical Christians and it saddens me that your impression of this group of people is so different from my experience with them.

Lance Mannion

S McCoy, my impression is based on my experience with them PLUS watching what they've done and tried to do with political power where they have it. It doesn't matter how nice folks are at the church bake sale. It matters what kind of country they want to live in and what they're doing to bring that about.

S McCoy

The mindset you're describing belongs to the Fundamentalists, a much smaller sub-set of Christians. There's no question that certain politicians offensively use RELIGION to gain electoral leverage. But please don't let these goofballs spoil your opinion of authentic Evangelicals (which, by the way, includes millions of Catholics). More importantly, please don't let their distorted message subvert what the Church actually teaches and desires.

Lance Mannion

S McCoy,

Evangelical Catholics? That's a new one on me. Would that be somebody like Rick Santorum?

Let me ask you, who's electing all these Right Wing state legislators and Congressmen, Unitarians? Who voted to pass the anti-same sex (that is, anti rights for gay people) laws the courts are busy overturning, Congregationalists?

And while Jimmy Carter is an Evangelical and so is Bill Clinton, the polling shows it, the majority of self-identified Evangelicals are Right Wing Republicans and if you can tell me the difference between their politics and their religion, I'd be much obliged.

S McCoy

Sure there are Catholic Evangelicals! Take another look at the apostles' creed.

People's faith and political views fall along a vast spectrum, but unfortunately our political parties (and therefore our representatives) have become more polarized and extreme. And binary. Even if most evangelicals vote Republican, that doesn't mean they're right wingers...many/most are choosing what they perceive to be the lesser of two evils.

The Evangelical message is that we can achieve salvation through faith in Christ, and then God's spirit indwells us so we gradually become more like him (Christ). The fact that we're still so bad at it just shows how desperately we really needed saving in the first place.

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