Sunday, June 04, 2006

Briefing In The Name of Jesus

House Speaker Brian Bosma's prayer case has brought everyone on the Christian right out in full force to use their tax-subsidized dollars to fight Judge David Hamilton's ruling prohibiting sectarian prayers as the official prayers for the Indiana House of Representatives. Groups filing amicus briefs in the case's appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals include Liberty Counsel, Foundation for Moral Law, Alliance Defense Fund, Becket Fund, Indiana Family Institute, Theologians and Scholars, National Legal Foundation, and our favorite Christian hate group, Advance America.

Advance America, which is based in Indiana, hired a law firm in Seminole, Florida, the Gibbs Law Firm, to write its amicus brief in Hinrichs v. Bosma. Apparently, the six-figure retainer fee paid to Advance America founder Eric Miller's law firm, which shares its office space with the organization, doesn't cover such work. This is what the six-figure legal retainer must cover according to the brief:

The staff of Advance America reads and reviews every bill filed in the Indiana General Assembly. They then evaluate each bill and make themselves available to offer testimony before legislative committees. The staff also talk directly with legislators, draft amendments and bills, and inform citizens about various bills being considered in the General Assembly.

The brief is careful to clarify that Advance America is a non-partisan group which does not endorse any candidate or political party [wink, wink, nod, nod]. Describing the group, the brief says:

Amicus Advance America, Inc., an organization located at 101 West Ohio, Suite 660, Indianapolis, Indiana 26204(sic), is a grassroots network that includes over 45,000 families, 1,500 businesses, and over 3,500 churches in Indiana. Advance America is a nonpartisan, tax-exempt, educational entity that informs individuals and organizations about what is occurring in state government and particularly about activities taking place in the Indiana General Assembly. As a non-profit educational organization, Advance America does not endorse any candidate or political party.

Advance America's main argument in its brief is that if Judge Hamilton's decision is affirmed, "the majority of pastors and members whose churches make up the Advance America legislative grassroots network will be prohibited from participating in this important tradition since they believe they are required by their Christian faith to pray in the name of Jesus." Did I read that right? Does the group say, "The majority of pastors and members . . . will be prohibited from participating" in prayer if they aren't allowed to invoke the name of Jesus? Yes, that is indeed what it says. That means some Christians can pray without invoking the name of Jesus. Which Christians would that be do you think?

To support its argument that a "majority of pastors and members" would be prohibited from participating in the legislative prayer as a result of Judge Hamilton's ruling, the group relies on no less of an authority than the Bible. Advance America maintains that the New Testament's Gospel according to John requires Christians to invoke the name of Jesus in prayer. The group cites the following verses from John:

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. John 14:13(a)

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it]. John 14:14

Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give you. John 16:23

Gee, is that what those verses mean? Does that mean if I pray in Jesus' name that Brian Bosma will no longer be Speaker of the Indiana House after this year's elections, my wish will be granted? I asked it in his name and John 14:13(a) says "whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do." But I don't think Eric Miller would agree with that interpretation.

What I'm really having trouble with is this other Bible verse that seems a little less ambiguous than the Gospel according to John. It's written in the Gospel according to Matthew. And it reads as follows:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matt 6: 5.

If I read this verse correctly, I'm instructed by Jesus to pray in secret behind closed doors, and not pray in public as the hypocrites do. Oh but I forgot, Eric Miller and Brian Bosma are both hypocrites, and that's what hypocrites do according to Jesus. Never mind.


Anonymous said...

I'm so weary of the Persecuted Christian defense. Here's an idea: take these six figures and practice what Jesus preached: go help the poor.

Stop trying to enforce your own morals and will onto the rest of us. Church and State are separated for a reason. Pray on the front steps, or heck, just whisper Jesus' name to yourself, and grow up.

Anonymous said...

Whoever runs this site is one angry bitter man. All he can do is call people names. In some post their bigots, in others hyprocrits, and in other haters.
Let the anger go man.

Anonymous said...

"Church and State are separated for a reason"

And that reason is ... judicial activism

"Stop trying to enforce your own morals and will onto the rest of us"

Thats a two way street my friend.

Marti said...

Dear anonymous,
it's obvious you are ignorant as well as a coward. Oh, and you might want to try a spell check...

and then read a history book...

Thomas Jefferson
"No religious reading, instruction or exercise, shall be prescribed or practiced [in the elementary schools] inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination."

"Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry."

James Madison
"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

"Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance."

"The Civil Government, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success; whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."

George Washington
"Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the consciences of men from oppression, it is certainly the duty of Rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but according to their stations, to prevent it in others."

"In the Enlightened Age and in this Land of equal Liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States."

John Adams
"We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions ... shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power ... we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society."

"The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and enchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated."

Benjamin Franklin
"When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."

Thomas Paine
"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith."

Those damn liberals!


Wilson46201 said...

There's a good reason the above poster remains anonymous -- his poor English and incorrect spelling shows an incomplete home-schooling ... his logic is immature and faulty too !

Anonymous said...

Is calling people names all the liberals can do? This web site seems to be in a race as to how many different names we can call people. So far we have hyprocrites, bigots, cowards, and ignorant.

It would be nice to see you seriously debate the issues without resorting to ad hominem

P.S. And they tell me liberals/Democrats are the party of tolerance.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not to confuse you further anonymous 3:16, but I am a Republican--remember, the party which fought to free the slaves, give women the right to vote and fought for the passage of the '64 Civil Rights Act. Or are you just one of those George Wallace Democrats who migrated over and hijacked the GOP?

Wilson46201 said...

anonymous, if the shoe fits ... your spelling is indeed bad ! you come here and call the host one angry bitter man -- and you want a rational discussion? Get real! The world has no need for trolls like you ...

Anonymous said...

"Or are you just one of those George Wallace Democrats who migrated over and hijacked the GOP?"

More like the Democratic Party did its job and got rid of its un-American bigots. WHEN will the moderate GOP we keep hearing about do the same? It would seem no time soon!

2006/2008 cannot come soon enough!

credo said...

The democrats and the republicans divide and conquer warfare has begun. Those who oppose same-sex anything and those who oppose same-sexgetting married have gotten gay-rights advocates and opponents worked up for the election fight.

What I don't understand is why would the gay community, being as large as it is support either party? If neither party is representing your needs, start your own!!! This is the United States of America and that is what the founding father did. Could it be that if they are going to belong to a group, the preferred group would be mainstream issues rather than other disadvantaged group issues of such as African-Americans, Latinos and so on and so on. Can't have it both ways, self-interest is no different than mainstream's sanction of racism.

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