Jesus, Even The Mention of Your Name….

Jesus, Even The Mention of Your Name….

by L. J. Martin

Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a majority opinion has ruled:  legislative invocations offered in Jesus’ name are inherently “sectarian” and thus should be censored lest they make some attendees feel “uncomfortable, unwelcome and unwilling to participate in…public affairs.”

This a victory of the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State in a lawsuit against a board of county commissioners in North Carolina, whose members don’t believe they should have to forbid volunteers from mentioning the name of Jesus in prayers offered before their meetings.

To be truthful, I’m surprised they’re allowed to have prayers before their meetings in today’s “anti-God” climate in America.

God, go to the back of the line.

I find it particularly interesting that the First Amendment to the Constitution begins: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof:…

What makes our courts think they can override this simple statement: “prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

I also wonder, in this United States of America, does anyone attend a public meeting who is surprised to find Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, etc., etc. in the crowd?  Is anyone offended when the atheist or agnostic does not participate in a prayer, or when a Muslim ends his prayer, or his statement to a board of commissioners with “praise Allah?”

Sorry, but I think our courts are infringing upon our freedoms, upon the very nature of a free America, and upon our constitutional rights when they dictate anything regarding religion in or out of a public venue.

That said, should a board of commissioners dictate that only Jesus may be mentioned in a pre-meeting or post-meeting prayer, or that only the name of Jesus may be used in the context of any speaker’s arguments during a meeting, then they are in violation of the constitution, and common decency, and respect for their fellow Americans.  Or when a prayer drones on and becomes a “time constraint” imposition.  Imposition on your fellows is different than stating your beliefs, simply and briefly.  Common sense should rule, but that’s been far from the decisions of our courts for many years.  Common sense is not mentioned in the Constitution, so why should our courts concern themselves with such a mundane concept?

The first definition of “providence” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: 1) a: often capitalized: divine guidance or care. b) capitalized: God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.

I point out that definition in regard to the following, two of whom were signers of the Constitution and the other who’s one of the most respected of our forefathers:

“(The adoption of the Constitution) will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible even in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.” George Washington

“I regard it (the Constitution) as the work of the purest patriots and wisest statesmen that ever exists, aided by the smiles of a benignant (gracious) Providence…it almost appears a Divine interposition in our behalf….”  Daniel Webster (Daniel Webster (1782-1852), of Massachusetts, has been called the “Expounder [to explain in detail] of the Constitution”.)

“I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance (as the framing of the Constitution)…should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that…beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being.”  Benjamin Franklin (Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.)

In our Declaration of Independence appear the words: God, Creator, Supreme Judge, and divine Providence.  All capitalized, all references to a Supreme Being…all references to God.

If prominent religions offer one consistency it’s morality, (other than Islam…you can’t dictate the death of non-believers and claim morality).  Still a Muslim should be able to invoke the name of Allah.  And a witch the name of whatever/whomever they believe.  Or an atheist no name at all.

Taking religion out of our schools and our public venues portends the downfall of America in my opinion.  It seems our courts want no vestige of religion anywhere it might have a positive effect on America’s youth.  And religion, ladies and gentlemen, is generally very positive.

What is it about our forefathers, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution…and, yes, religion… that engenders so much disdain from our courts?

Ladies and gentlemen, if you want a moral America, tell your administration, your legislators, and particularly your courts to get the hell out of the issue of religion in America and get with the Constitution, before we’re all bound for Hell.

L. J. Martin is the author of 28 books and dozens of articles in national publications.  He writes the conservative blog http://fromthepeapatch.com.  He lives in Montana with his wife, an NYT bestselling internationally published author.  For more about Martin see www.ljmartin.com.

 

2 Responses to “Jesus, Even The Mention of Your Name….”

  • John Birbari:

    Larry, sound thinking. You would enjoy looking at Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, available online at http://www.constitution.org/js/js_000.htm – Story was a Supreme Court Justice, appointed in 1811 by President James Madison. He knew most of the founders personally and understood the Constitution as well as if not better than most in his day. You would be stunned to read his commentary on the First Amendment.
    Best,
    John

  • Doug Indeap:

    Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of the people (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. They later buttressed this separation with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

    James Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

    It is important to distinguish between the “public square” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

    The Constitution, including particularly the First Amendment, embodies the simple, just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Moreover, they are good, sound principles that should be nurtured and defended, not attacked. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

    Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

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