Tag Archives: prayer
It’s been observed that “there’s no atheists in foxholes.” This refers to the horrors of war and the men and women that bravely defend our country. When in the midst of life-threatening war, no atheists can be found as soldiers pray to God for safety. I think we could aptly apply this wisdom to hurricanes as well: “there’s no atheists in hurricane shelters.”
These two devastating forces of nature remind me of two immutable facts:
Suppose you’re a high-school football coach that has received praise and accolades in your annual review for the last 7 years. You’ve also been told by athletes and parents about what a good influence you are on the players and what a great role model you are. You don’t do anything special or different for your entire tenure as a coach. Then, one day you find out the school is placing you on administrative leave and suggesting you not be re-hired.
What would you think?
That is the position coach Joe Kennedy found himself in when the local Washington state school district he worked for refused to allow him to continue saying silent prayers on the football field.
Here’s the story.
In 2008 Coach Kennedy saw the movie “Facing the Giants” and decided to start praying for his team. He would stroll out to the field before and after games to say a silent prayer for the athletes. He didn’t tell anyone, didn’t invite anyone, he just started praying. Before long members of his team joined him and they would silently pray before and after games. No one was forced. No one was disciplined or removed from the team for not praying. It was a completely voluntary routine.
I don’t know what the first “Christmas” was like. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t called Christmas. And I’m fairly certain that Mary, Joseph, and anyone else involved didn’t quite know what was going on. They knew a baby was being born. They knew God had spoke to them and told them everything would be okay. But beyond that I’m not sure the full impact of that day was realized.
Over the years Christmas has evolved into a day filled with traditions and celebrations that are joyful and festive. Some have to do with that baby born in a manger many centuries ago. Some are simply a product of cultural evolution. Some are…strange (egg nog…really?).
There’s an enormous misunderstanding regarding the Constitution and religion that is causing all sorts of trouble for folks that just want to pray. The misunderstanding is being intentionally propagated by an atheist group that doesn’t want to see religious expressions in public.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has a notion that government and religion are mutually exclusive. They have as their mission “to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state.” The problem here is that there is no such “constitutional principle.” Nowhere in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence is there a word about keeping religion out of public life; or the so-called “separation of church and state.” In fact, what the Constitution does say is that the government has no authority to make any laws pertaining to the free exercise and expression of religion.
But that doesn’t stop this atheist group from demanding that coaches not take part in team prayers.
One of the latest cases comes from Naperville, Ill. where a high school football coach is under fire for simply being present with his players during team prayers. (Click here to read the local article) The complaint came after a picture of the team, including the coaches, was sent to the FFRF. They sent a letter to the school district demanding the action cease immediately.
Once again I find myself struggling to determine what is acceptable as I read a recent headline causing a stir. It seems the lines between “rights” and “discrimination” have become so blurred that it’s hard to decipher anything clearly.
The story making headlines is that of an Office Depot store in Illinois that refused to print the pro-life flyer a woman brought in because, they said, the language used was graphic and offensive.
The flyer in question is one being used to call for prayer for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business. The flyer shares details from Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report, includes information about their harvesting body parts, and includes a prayer for the conversion of Planned Parenthood. While I can certainly understand someone not agreeing with the content of the flyer, there is nothing that I can see which would cause anyone to describe this flyer as “graphic” or “offensive.” (Click here to see the flyer.)
Of course many media outlets, organizations, and corporations have supported Planned Parenthood over the years. They have covered up atrocities committed by the abortion giant, refused to report on shocking cases of abuse, rape, sex-trafficking, and abortion related death, and donated money. So maybe Office Depot is simply protecting a friend, an asset.
The very first Thanksgiving Proclamation was made by William Bradford in 1623. At least that is how history records it. I have no doubt the Pilgrims were quite thankful when they landed in the “new world.” But history doesn’t record an official proclamation until several years later when Bradford, the governor of the colony, said these words:
Prayer has been in the news a lot lately. The recent Supreme Court ruling that public prayer before town council meetings is indeed constitutional has a lot to do with that. Opponents of pubic prayer, like American United for Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, believe that any prayer offered in public is inherently a government attempt to coerce people into a specific religion. Apparently they don’t believe people are smart enough to think for themselves.
Before the Supreme Court ruled on this case prayer was in the news as a result of a tragic shooting that took place during the Easter season.
A former Klu Klux Klan member killed three people at Jewish center in Overland Park, Kansas over Easter weekend in a display of racial bigotry that shocked many. President Obama took the opportunity to encourage religious tolerance during his Easter address from the White House.
“Nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers,” Obama said. “No one should ever have to fear for their safety when they go to pray.”
Already this landmark decision is being called controversial by both opponents of public prayer and advocates. That might sound strange, but some are wondering if the fact that the court ruled on public prayer at all is a sign that our religious freedoms are being viewed as government granted rather than God-given, as our Founders believed. It is a valid thought to consider as increasing government intrusion on individual liberty and religious freedom has reached historic proportions.
But, for the moment we do need to celebrate what is potentially one of the most critical victories regarding religious freedom in our country in quite a while. Under one of the most religiously oppressive administrations in recent history we should celebrate every victory and be thankful for the freedoms that continue to shape America. Here’s a few of the articles commenting on the recent decision by the Supreme Court.
The American Atheists group known for bashing faith has been given add space outside Metlife Stadium where the Super Bowl will be played tomorrow. According to the group this is the first atheist sponsored billboard targeting football fans. The groups president, David Silverman made the following comment:
“Prayer is superstition, plain and simple. It trivializes the dedication of the players and takes away from their achievements…A third of football fans pray in hopes of helping their team. These are adults we’re talking about — people with children, people with careers, people who vote.” [I]t is 2014 and “time to stop believing that prayer works.”
I can’t help but wonder if a group promoting faith, prayer, salvation, or any other faith-based message would have been given the same add space. And if they were given the space, would they or the advertiser be sued by American Atheists or the Freedom from Religion Foundation? Will someone try to sue the atheists for promoting their “religion”? Because let’s face it, atheism is indeed a religion. The double standard and irony here is palpable.
Here’s the billboard that will be featured.
A case with incredible implications for the religious freedoms of Americans came to the Supreme Court recently. In Town of Greece v. Galloway the high court heard oral arguments as to whether or not a town council has the constitutional right to open with public prayer. This case has been ongoing for many years and finally made it to the Supreme Court on November 6th.
The last time the Supreme Court heard a public prayer case was in 1983 when it ruled in favor of public prayer in the Nebraska legislature in Marsh v. Chambers. The question now is whether or not the court will stay consistent in recognizing the constitutional right for any public assembly or body to open with prayer.