Letter: Disallowing prayer violates Constitution

By R.E. Bumgardner

15 Comments | Leave a Comment

In your Dec. 19 edition there appeared a letter from a reader printed under the heading “Council prayer would violate Constitution.” The writer opened his letter this way: “I am writing to express my concern that elected officials on the Elizabeth City City Council would suggest a blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution and open up the city to a lawsuit by opening official business with openly sectarian prayers.”

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It needs to be pointed out that

people of faiths other than Christian are not doing most of the complaining and yet is on their behalf that the proposals are being made to silence followers of the Christ. It is the godless and faithless that are the most vocal and active in the campaign against Christianity. Sadly that trend appears to presently include both SCOTUS and POTUS. http://www.faith-freedom.com/learn/first-amendment/

Deleted a double post

Deleted a double post.


Just say it: you believe that no one other than Christians (and your brand of Christianity to boot) should be allowed to offer prayers at a public meeting. If you want to take that position, then OWN it and quit trying to prevaricate. The reason that people of other faiths are staying silent is because of people like you. There are Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, and many other faiths within the Albemarle Area. YOU have chosen to try to marginalize them. No wonder they won't speak up. How dare you criticize those of us who speak on their behalf? How dare you assume we are "faithless and godless"? There is no "campaign against Christianity"; there is a continuing fight for Freedom of Religion and you are clearly not a part of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_... When you denigrate one faith you denigrate them all.

Just stating the national

Just stating the national historical facts, mam. I'm not one of the country's founders. You'll need to take that up with them. Just for clarification: "Godless and faithless" referred to atheists, humanists, and secularists (by their own admission) not people of other faiths.

I'll Repeat

I'll repeat the question I asked in another place (and thank you, Crossbow for your courteous reply): How will this community react when that prayer is offered by a Muslim or a Pagan?

I'm sure...

the request by the Muslim or pagan to "pray" at the beginning of the meeting would be allowed - as long as there are no suicide vests involved... I'm not sure who/what pagans would be praying to... I have no idea... The real question is what is the motive of the one leading the prayer. There should be some guidelines of course... no dancing around fires or anything that might cause property damage... no risk of smoke inhalation or anything... I would hope that the Christian would pray that the Lord's will be done... pray for wisdom... to be humble and grateful for the opportunity to serve... to hopefully feel unworthy to serve... that selfish pride and desires of the flesh be checked at the door... and remind the council that they are SERVANTS of the people... not there to be served. Christ came to serve and not be served... and there is no better example than He. ALL of our elected officials need to be reminded of that... “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” - George Washington

DoMo, amazing racist!

Two entire paragraphs of screaming, rascist, idiocy. Disgusting. I hope that your opening comments were meant as a joke, but they don't read that way. I would remind you, sir, of the violent history of our own religion. Beware the propensity of christians to spread their faith by the sword rather than everlasting love and forgiveness. There is nothing gentle about our faith from the perspective of the millions that have been subjugated by it. Let's start with the entire Western Hemisphere and then check Africa right now where American "christians" have instigated murderous anti-homosexual laws. Ask the American Indian. THAT is blasphemy. Then move on to the Middle East where many, many Muslims view American military activism as a Christian crusade, confirmed by Mr. Bush's own stupid words. We could prance around the Middle Ages and examine the Spanish Inquisition or the extermination and sword-point conversion of the Jews. Check out the Spanish Armada, that was viewed by both sides as an attempt by Catholic Spain to reclaim Protestant England for the Pope. A great deal of our own language about ourselves is military - Soldiers of Christ, Onward Christian Soldiers, Crusader, etc. Both sides in our civil war styled themselves to be christian warriors with god on their side. Historic Christianity is neither gentle, nor accepting of others. You overlook our own history while pointing an accusing finger at those that react to it. I suggest, sir, that you and I might be willing to strap on a bomb vest ourselves if foreign troops invaded America under an Islamic fundamentalist banner. Try the American secular approach and let everyone have their chance to open the meetings with their own words, or none at all, and without this insulting judgment. Please, please reply. I've really had to work to tone this down. Respectfully Submitted, Force 12

Racist? Now Farce 12 - you of all people

should know satire and fallacies when you read them. I’m somewhat disappointed... Its as though you didn’t recognize your own reflection. Typically thats all we read from you... The bottom line is this... This is one of those topics that will never be resolved or “won” by either side because there is no common ground really - other than agreeing to disagree... That’s why secular-progressives and your ilk are attacking Christianity at every front. It’s a movement to rewrite American history and chisel away at our founding principles. You won’t come out and say that of course... it’s hidden behind the veil of post modern academia - a religion in itself. Let me help you - this is where you say people that believe this are old fashioned, paranoid, out of sync with the times, racist and hateful... pointing down an “accusing finger” as you put it... the same old play out of the same old playbook. Personally my heart aches for the lost... It is you pointing the accusing finger... check yourself... You’re hardly an authority on this topic, much less my personal convictions... BTW... I am well versed in human history, the killings and atrocities committed and the “justifications” used to commit them - but thank you for the “lesson”... All the atrocities you mention have one root cause - sin. You can throw any “label" at it you wish to support your stance - but its sin... Your correlation between Christianity and your list of atrocities does not imply causation. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t... but my gut tells me you wish it did...

I'm glad to know

That you were merely satirical, however misplaced and ill-timed. I did ask after all. My "ilk" tend toward defending individual rights, hence the secular approach to government. A government that makes room for all. There is nothing that I said that can be described as "attacking christianity" since all of my examples are documented history. Merely a reminder that we should not cast the first stone, my friend, which your "satire" clearly did. Bomb vests, camp fires and all. I do use satire and sarcasm to make my points, but never "fallacies." I don't tell lies here or mislead in any way regarding my intention. You can call me any number of things, but not a liar. So lose this word, please, regarding my writing. I've never once said, of christians, "people that believe this are old fashioned, paranoid, out of sync with the times, racist and hateful." I did say that your comment was racist, which is wrong. I should have said "religious bigotry." For this I apologize. In fact I'm old fashioned myself, since I believe that we survive as a nation by preserving Mr. Jefferson's "wall" between the churches and the state. In fact, every one of my words is intended as a defense of that very wall that defends our individual right to believe and practice our faith, or no faith at all, as we see fit. I also happen to agree that all of those atrocities and justifications of destruction that are based on self-serving interpretations of christian priniciple and the Bible are sinful. And that is my point. Using our faith to force what will likely be Christian prayer to open local government meetings is wrong in America. It is clearly the intention and hope of our two erstwhile preacher/councilors and probably a majority of our citizens, and yourself, that this will happen. This is christians themselves justifying a self-serving attack on the Establishment Clause to begin the political process to dominate all other beliefs, and the political process. This is exactly what the christian right pushes, and it is wrong in secular America. This breaches the wall that makes life in America possible without the constant warfare between religions, and within religions, that is demolishing entire nations in other parts of the world. I sincerely believe that letting this begin is the beginning of the most dangerous thing that we can do to ourselves. Oh, I know, I'm just being silly, it's only a prayer, right? Wait, was that some sarcasm slipping through? And this will happen unless citizens speak up and stand up against the majority, even if they are part of the majority, as I am. So, now tell us why you think it's okay for Council to cross the wall? And then describe your long term, hoped for outcome? I'll stick my neck out a bit and predict that it will sound a lot like a christian theocracy. And which sect, exactly will be in charge? Baptists? Which Baptist sect? Methodists? Catholics? Certainly not the Jews or Islamists, christian Heaven forbid! Gee, it's a good thing the NRA is good at selling guns because we're gonna need all that we can get. Good timing that Chauncey's is running a three-gun raffle. Oh darn. There's that sarcasm again. Sarcasm can point to truth. I'm flattered that you've lumped me in with those pesky "academics." But, I'm just a public high-school-educated workin' stiff with the independent brain that God gave me. Maybe our conversation will shake the shackles from your own. Oh, and finally, please stop trying to fit me into your Fox entertainment narrative. I don't fit. Oh, and really finally, It's just tragic that you feel it necessary to mock my name. I had hoped to leave that behind me in pre-preschool, but, alas, bullies, et alia! DoMo, don't be shy. Let's go! Please reply. Respectfully Submitted, Force 12

You should ask this question:

Based on what we know, would Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress have been OK with Muslim or Pagan practices in the Federal buildings of Washington, DC alongside Christian Church services? This takes into account the fact that they founded the nation on Judeo-Christian philosophy and principles and even opened their meetings with Christian prayer. It also takes into account the strong Christian faith, well known historically and undisputed, of George Washington. Answer this truthfully based on historical evidence and you will have your answer.

In other words

You seem to be saying that ONLY Christian prayer should be allowed in government buildings, because no other kinds of prayers were allowed in the 18th century. Is that correct?

We should go with what the

founders intended as is clearly illustrated in the historical record and demonstrated when they were alive and well on the planet. Since most of them held to Judeo- Christian philosophy Christian prayer was preeminent at their meetings. I suppose if the country was founded on the principles of Islam and they were all Muslim, then Muslim prayer would have been preeminent and they would all be bowing to Mecca 3 times a day. As a Christian, I would have no problem with that, if it were the case.


However, we Christians must remember how the story ends so our sanity can remain in tact as we go forward.

That is correct

The nation's founders held Sunday church services in every federal building in Washington DC including, of all places, the Supreme Court building. Thomas Jefferson even employed the Marine Corp Band to play lively hymns at one of the main services. This nonsense about unconstitutionality of prayer and government needs to stop. NOW!


There is nothing wrong in opening City Council meetings with sectarian prayer--it is not congress meeting to establish a national religion. I wonder where were the ones hollering "church and state" when Church services were held in Federal buildings?

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