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1.01.2006    |    The wrong issue
Some Christians will no doubt get their knickers in a twist over the latest anti-Christian ruling to rain down from an out-of-control judiciary. And, well, they should. We are being told by an obnoxious federal judge that the Indiana state legislature may not offer a prayer to Jesus Christ as part of its traditional invocation. Other prayers, to Allah, and to an unspecified deity are just fine. Just not the Christian God.

A prayer invoked in Jesus' name, which is standard, and required of all Christians, is not "sectarian" in the sense of establishing one denomination. Which was the first (and many would say only) purpose for the so-called separation of church and state.

The founders of our nation did not want the Church of England grandees tussling with the Congregationalists, Quakers, and other denominations. So they wisely said, "knock it off, we're not going to have an established Church of the United States."

In the meantime, those of different faiths, or none at all, were protected. That's all she wrote. Judge Hamilton says otherwise. The story of how Hamilton is attempting to bully the sovereign legislative branch of Indiana may be found here. This judge, is attempting to dictate how a sovereign state's legislature opens its sessions. With not even the hint that the Federal Constitution is being violated.

Let's keep this simple: an invocation by a Christian in the name of Jesus is no more a violation of anything than is any othe invocation. By a Jew in the name of God; by a Muslim in the name of Allah; by a Hindu in the name of Ganesha. Some may be inflamed by hearing the name of Jesus; our Lord did, after all, battle Satan. Not that I'm making comparisons, mind you...

And that is the real issue for Americans: can a federal judge dictate what a state's legislative branch deems an acceptable form of public prayer?

My take on the separation of church and state is that Indiana, as an overwhelmingly majority Christian state, can invoke Jesus Christ in its public prayers. Just so long as non-Christians are not forced to participate. Of at least equal importance, liberty dictates that no judicial hack dictate to a sovereign state.

That's really what the issue is. Judge Hamilton, the article notes that you're "the son and grandson of Methodist ministers." Isn't that just typical of a PK (preacher's kid) to rebel against the faith. Or maybe it's just that you're a typical liberal hyperthyroidal judicial activist.

Regardless, a federal judge has no business meddling in the sovereign affairs of Indiana. Sic semper tyrannis, your "honor."

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.