Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More On The Warren Controversy - Why Invite A Pastor At All?

The kerfuffle over Rick Warren has a new twist. Pundits and observers are postulating whether or not Warren will close his prayer in the traditional Christian way, "in Jesus name". If I had to guess I would say yes, but in reality, who cares? First and foremost having an invocation at a state event seems to go directly against the Constitution, but I understand it is tradition.

As most of you know, I am a Christian, so you might expect I would be OK with Pastor Warren's prayer. Well I am not. I was raised as a Jew, and being Jewish in Dallas, Texas was an interesting experience, especially at my elementary school. Back then, sometime before the dinosaurs died off, we still had each day begin with a prayer. Yup, prayer in public schools, conducted by the principal no less!

I was a nerd, and being skilled in technical things ended up running the school's PA system. Each morning a different student would be selected to give the opening prayer. Most of them closed it with that same phrase, "in Jesus name".

For me it was a slap in my face. I didn't pray "in Jesus name" then and it made me feel like an outcast. The one or two days a year when a Jewish kid would give the prayer were the only times when I felt I could join in and really pray. Kids are pretty literal you know.

I was taught the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag without the words "under God" because that is the way my parents learned it. Those words were added in the mid 1950's to show the world we weren't godless Communists. Thanks Congress! So when I stood up and led the pledge at my Scout meeting I got some really odd stares when I went right past the newly added religious reference.

The point is this. A Pastor, Imam, Rabbi, Priest or Shaman has no place at a governmental event. Whether you know it or not, we are not a Christian nation, we are a secular nation and thank God for that! Otherwise, we would be arguing over the appropriateness of baptism by sprinkling or immersion. And don't get me started on whether you should take communion each week or just once a year!

I sincerely hope someone will actually question the propriety of any religious officials on the dais for the inauguration instead of which one is invited!

1 comment:

salon said...

Thank you, Hardy. I was raised as a christian, but a sobaptist when they still believed in separation of church and state. It may be somewhat traditional to have a prayer, although it's not traditional enough to have one every single time for an inaug, but you're right, it's the wrong thing to do because it smacks of exclusivity.