Stuff Your Prayers…

Every year or so, a reactionary relative will send around some annoying right-wing screed of dubious origin with no comments of their own, leaving recipients to wonder if they're forwarding something that they wholeheartedly agree with, marvel at, question, want to discuss, or simply want to share widely. A few years ago it was a similar essay advocating corporal punishment of kids and decrying the general demise of morals, in this case, it's a variation on the old urban hoax attributed to Paul Harvey. Facts first (I know, facts have no place in the faith-based universe of Bush & Bible, but still…): Paul Harvey has nothing to do with this. The bulk of the essay was written in 1999 by a Texas sports writer, see Snopes for the full debunk/genesis.

School prayer has been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court every decade or so since the 50s. It's not a question of stripping rights from fundamentalist Christians, it's about upholding the constitution of the United States. It's in the first amendment of the Constitution, the establishment clause, which Thomas Jefferson referred to as, "the wall of separation between church and state."

Here's a wonderful *real* discussion of the merits of pre-game prayer vs. the establishment clause. Unlike the recycled Harvey hoax, it actually bothers to consider the matter "Is it ridiculous to sue over a pre-ballgame prayer?" The point is not that anybody is preventing each individual Christian at that ballgame (at a public high school) from praying all they want before, during, and after the game, but that the Constitution prevents an explicit religous act such as public prayer to be forced on others. Go to the ballgame. No, don't tell the atheists and buddhist to go to the concession stand or plug their ears while you broadcast your faith over the loudspeakers. Keep your faith to yourself. You think you share your faith with a majority of other Americans? Good for all of you, that must be very comforting.

"God bless us one and all … especially those who denounce Him. God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all." – greatest nation of all measured how? Nobody is denouncing God here. It seems that in order to build up the image of Christians as victims of persecution it has to be assumed that everyone out there is actively against God.

"God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God." Last time I checked, the Administration's justification for the invasion of Iraq was the presence of weapons of mass destruction. If it is now officially a crusade, perhaps someone would care to explain how the tax-funded army of a secular state which separates state and church is being used to fight a Christian battle?

"May 2005 be the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions." You are free to make God the foundation of your family all you want. You are free to make God the foundation of all your religious institutions. What you can't do is make God the foundation of public institutions like schools and courts. That's not repression, that's the Constitution of this great nation, one of the founding principles laid out by people who had seen what the infusion of religion into secular life could led to in the way of persecution and injustice. It was a step forward, a step that enabled this country to become what it is today. Now you want to step back to the dark ages again?

"Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek" – uh, isn't that what Christians are supposed to do to prove that they are Christians?