Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Pastor relieved of duties for mentioning Jesus in NC legislature

Story from Life Site News. (H/T Fox News via ECM)

Excerpt:

A North Carolina pastor was relieved of his duties as honorary chaplain with the state House of Representatives for closing a prayer with Jesus’ name.

“I was made to feel like a second class North Carolinian when I was told that my services would no longer be needed if I could not offer the opening prayer in the manner prescribed by the House of Representatives, rather than in the manner my Biblical faith requires,” said Pastor Ron Baity.

“It appears that only those religious leaders willing to pray a government-prescribed prayer will be given the honor of participating in this legislative prayer exercise in the future.”

Pastor Baity of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had been invited to offer opening prayers in the North Carolina House of Representatives during the week of May 31.

When he arrived at the legislative chamber on May 31 and gave a transcript of his prayer to the clerk, he saw her eyes immediately drop to the end of the prayer.

“When I handed it to the lady, I watched her eyes and they immediately went right to the bottom of the page and the word Jesus,” he told FOX News Radio. “She said ‘We would prefer that you not use the name Jesus. We have some people here that can be offended.’”

“I told her I was highly offended when she asked me not to pray in the name of Jesus because that does constitute my faith,” Baity said. “My faith requires that I pray in His name. The Bible is very clear.”

But maybe the ACLU will come to his aid and protect his right to free speech?

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said that there is no right to offer sectarian prayer before a legislative session.

“When you are doing an opening legislature prayer, you are acting as the government mouthpiece, not as a private citizen,” legal director Katy Parker said. “The government has an obligation to stay neutral on matters of religion so that all citizens in North Carolina are included by their government.”

The ACLU not only doesn’t defend free speech and religious liberty, but they actually are actively suppressing free inquiry when it comes to things like Darwinism. They’re not in favor of academic freedom.

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28 Responses

  1. Moo says:

    There is no need for any prayer within the constructs of government. Culture and beliefs should remain within the family/social setting. America was founded on secular values (some basic research into the founding fathers writings will confirm this). This protects the minority from the dogmatic views of a majority, which also protects the majority as the majority can change over time.

  2. Anon says:

    Hi Moo,

    “This protects the minority from the dogmatic views of a majority, which also protects the majority as the majority can change over time.”

    It’s not that simple.

    Read this http://www.mandm.org.nz/2010/06/contra-mundum-secularism-and-public-life.html

  3. Richard Ball says:

    Secular values like, “In God We Trust”? “Endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights”?

    Some were Christians, some were deists; a few may have even been atheists, but I doubt they even had the concept of “secular values”.

    • freethinkep says:

      “In God We Trust” was made the official motto of the United States in 1956 and had nothing to do with the founding of the country though.

      Also, almost by definition having a separation of Church and State is a “secular value”.

      • Where do our rights come from according to the Declaration of Independence?

        Where does the phrase “separation of Church and State” appear?

        • freethinkep says:

          In the actual Constitution, which is where all our rights are actually enumerated, described and defined there is not one mention of the word God, Creator, Jesus or Lord.It is also specified that no religious test shall be had to hold office. This, together with Thomas Jefferson’s letter where he utters the phrase “Separation of Church and State” when referring to the First Amendment, seems to leave a pretty strong precedent of the founding fathers wanting the Government to avoid religious matters.
          Also, in the Treaty of Tripli, the US, Washington along with Jefferson, stated “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. Can’t get any clear-cut than that can it?

          • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

            That’s from the Declaration of Independence.

            I’m sure you also are aware that the Founding Fathers encouraged things like the National Day of Prayer, and government-funded ministers. So they did not mean what you thought they meant.

          • freethinkep says:

            Yeah I know the Declaration says that, yet if it were so important, wouldn’t god be mentioned at least once in the Constitution? The document that actually rules the nation?

            And I wouldn’t use the national day of prayer as an argument, it’s currently being debated if it’s constitutional and was only officially introduced in 1952.

          • For prayer I am talking about Washington, Lincoln, etc. Washington’s prayer of 1789, and Lincoln’s day of fasting and prayer.

          • freethinkep says:

            I would like to add: “On April 15, 2010, Judge Crabb ruled that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional as it is “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function”. Judge Crabb also stated in her opinion, “If the government were interested only in acknowledging the role of religion in America, it could have designated a ‘National Day of Religious Freedom’ rather than promote a particular religious practice.”

          • Anon says:

            Who cares? We’re talking about the false foundation of church and state separation.

  4. James says:

    “America was founded on secular values”

    I’d be interested to see what basic research you found to support this. In fact, it might be so basic that you need to do more research.

    Because America was founded upon deeply held Christian convictions, and some basic research into the founding fathers writings will confirm this.

    • freethinkep says:

      I think its been really well established that Jefferson, Franklin and Madison, three of the most important figures in the drafting of the Constitution were critical of religion and specifically, a union of religion and state.

  5. Mara says:

    A little history.

    In Europe, each country had a king and its own state religion. The subjects of that nation were subject to the king and to the state religion. Period. They were not citizens of their country. They were subjects to the king and the religion of the king.
    This brought a great deal of upheaval. I won’t get into the Spanish Inquisition or the reign of Bloody Mary. But there is a lot of history leading up to the Constitutions and Declaration of Independence that your average American is clueless about. Things like Common Law and the Magna Carta mean nothing to most people. And this ignorance of histroy is producing a lot of foolishness in present day government.

    What the founding fathers wanted was freedom OF religion. Not freedom FROM religion.
    They did not want a state church, whether it be Catholic or Protestant. They wanted the church and state to be separated so worshipers had the freedom to choose Catholic or whatever form of Protestant they wanted(Puritan, Quaker, etc). They made room for Deists as well.

    They never intended for the separation to remove church or Christianity from public and state life. This is a very recent development.

  6. Mary says:

    Rather no official prayers in parliament than the travesty that is “interfaith prayer”- which is really new age belief. I can’t pray with people who don’t mean the same thing as me when they address “God”. I would hesitate to pray with Obama. I know he claims to be Christian, but other statements of his demonstrate that that means something very different to what I mean. This issue has come up in my country too and I’m rather of the opinion that having government prayers in this day and age results in compromises that make the whole exercise more aggravating than anything else.

    • I’m more concerned about the question of religious liberty.

      • Moo says:

        You have religious liberty now. You can have whatever beliefs you want. You have no right to preach within government or places of work. Would you accept a prayer from another faith that is diametrically opposed to yours? Hindu, Islam, pagan?

        • And this is where you get shocked. Yes, I don’t mind if people of other faiths pray in front of me. Because I don’t think that my disagreement is sufficient to remove their rights to free speech. I will sit there and I will tolerate a different (false) view, because I don’t think that my feelings of being “offended” (I’m not offended by opposing views) are enough to force someone else to act as if they held MY beliefs. I don’t believe in controlling others.

          NOW do you see the difference between you and us? I am as exclusive and Bibl-believing evangelical Christian as you’ll find, but I believe in the right for all people to express their faith in public.

    • freethinkep says:

      Why does it even matter who you are praying with? Supposedly you are on a direct line with God, who is around you shouldn’t matter at all. That just seems intolerant to me.

      • Anon says:

        It doesn’t matter who I’m praying with, it matters if my prayer is limited by the state just so I don’t offend others.

  7. Mary says:

    I hear you, WK. [Sorry, can't reply directly to your comment on my mobile.] And the irony is that they are effectually mandating one sectarian form of prayer (new age) over another (christian). The ACLU makes the usual postmodern mistake of declaring the new age all-religions-are-one approach as neutral, whereas it is nothing of the sort. It is a religious practice which differs from others. There is no such thing as neutral religious practice – including prayer.

  8. Mary says:

    Freethinkep, I have no problem with praying in the vicinity of people of different beliefs. I have a big problem in praying the same words with them and saying something like “Oh God, we ask you to…” because “we” means “all of us praying together” and “God” means something radically different for each of those people. It becomes an exercise in double-speak and politically correct hypocrisy.

  9. Moo says:

    I personally tend to agree with your position. I am not really offended by the free speech aspect; however it can be a slippery slope to enacting laws that are preferential or prejudicial to a certain segment of the community (e.g. preventing LGBT marriage, tax exemptions, funding of abstinence only teaching, and corruption of the science curriculum.).

    Also, we need to be careful about where we draw the line with freedom of speech versus proselytizing/coercion. I don’t think that we need that in our school systems, government or even in most private companies. We risk having a state “approved” or enforced religion.

    • Is proselytization OK when if comes to frauds like Haeckel’s embryos, Al Gore documentaries, Carl Sagan selling the discredited oscillating model of the universe, sex education, socialism, postmodernism, moral relativism?

  10. Desmognathus says:

    If they ask a Christian preacher/priest to pray in the legislature, they should expect and allow an overtly Christian prayer. If they are having public prayers in the legislature, though, they should be prepared to allow clergy of another faith to pray in the legislature if a legislator of that faith so requests.

  11. [...] PASTOR RELIEVED of duties for mentioning Jesus in NC legislature …. [...]

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