Religious Liberty Group Pushes Back Against Efforts to Stop Ceremonial Prayers at Air National Guard Base

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — A Texas-based religious liberties legal group is pushing back against an atheist activist organization’s efforts to put an end to prayers and Bible readings that are presented by a chaplain during ceremonies at a Air National Guard base in New Hampshire.

The First Liberty Institute sent a letter on Tuesday to Col. James Ryan, the commanding officer at Pease Air National Guard Base, to advise that it believes the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s (FFRF) assertions about the prayers are fallacious.

“The FFRF’s position and legal argument are incorrect. Federal law, military regulations, and court precedents belie the FFRF’s specious claims. Uniformed chaplains are clearly permitted, indeed protected, when they offer invocations at military functions,” senior counsel Mike Berry wrote.

He pointed to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the National Defense Authorization Act, as well as the Department of Defense (DoD) instruction entitled “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services.” Berry said that under these rules, “the DoD must accommodate individual expressions of religious belief, which undoubtedly include a military chaplain’s invocation.”

First Liberty also noted the 1997 federal court ruling in Rigdon v. Perry, which upheld the rights of two chaplains who desired to preach in favor of banning partial-birth abortion.

Berry

“In Rigdon v. Perry, a federal court explained that when military chaplains are acting in a religious capacity—such as when conducting a sermon or offering an invocation—they are not acting under color of military authority, and ‘it is wholly appropriate for them to advance their religious beliefs in that context,'” Berry noted.

“Thus, when military chaplains engage in religious conduct, their conduct is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution,” he said, concluding that the U.S. Constitution, federal law and DoD regulations alike all permit chaplain-led prayer at military events.

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“Moreover, those legal authorities actually forbid military commanders from censoring or prohibiting such invocations,” Berry contended.

As previously reported, last month, FFRF sent a letter to base leadership to assert that the inclusion of the chaplain-led invocations and Scripture readings at official Air National Guard ceremonies is unconstitutional. It said that it had been contacted by a concerned guardsman, who informed them of the chaplain’s offerings.

“Christian prayers delivered at an official military event violate the Constitution’s mandate of government neutrality between religious beliefs,” FFRF contended. “Any prayer—including non-denominational prayer—violates the required neutrality between religion and nonreligion.”

“By imposing prayer on its guardsmen at mandatory events, the Air National Guard is violating the constitutional limits on government religious endorsement,” it said.

The organization also opined that the inclusion of the prayers is “unnecessary and divisive,” as well as “coercive” and “insensitive.” FFRF said that the invocations exclude those who don’t identify as atheists, and noted that military members are “free to pray privately or to worship on their own time.”

“The Air National Guard must refrain from lending its power and prestige to religion, amounting to a government endorsement that excludes the over 23% of military personnel who either express no religious preference or are atheists,” it said. “It is also simply insensitive for a government employer to inflict prayer on employees regardless of their personal beliefs.”

FFRF requested that it be assured in writing that the invocations would be discontinued at future events to “protect the rights of conscience” of guardsmen, such as those who do not share in the religious beliefs of the presenting chaplain.

The base has not yet released a statement or decision about the matter.

As previously reported, in 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee said to his troops, “Soldiers! We have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that ‘our times are in His hands,’ and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence.”

“God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him,” he declared. “Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism, and more determined will; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth.”


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  • Chris Clayton

    If you are going to quote past generals, perhaps you should also consider the words of Thomas Jefferson who penned these words on the difference between personal beliefs and government speech: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Simply put, religion is a personal matter and should not be imposed by the state.

    • Jason Todd

      Maybe it would be a good idea to post the entire letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptists, which showed he wasn’t thinking of government being protected from the church, but quite the opposite.

      I am long past sick and tired of hearing anti-Christian bigots twisting the Constitution and its meaning to censor Christian speech while remaining silent toward others, like Islam.

      Sit down and shut up.

      • Chris Clayton

        At least Disqus was polite and prompted both of us with an offer to “join the discussion”. Perhaps there is some good that comes talking through debates, rather just being told to shut up. By the way, I was sitting down, so that commandment was not needed.

      • Johndoe

        LMAO!

  • Rachelthemillenial

    Good for them. The religion-haters will melt away when they meet with resistance.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      I don’t know of anyone who is a “religion-hater,” but I know of many people, myself included, who believe that the government, and every agent of it, must be forbidden from promoting any religion or religion in general.

      • Vern

        In other words, you hate Christians.

        • Jason Todd

          Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

          • Vern

            Can you believe these liars? “I don’t hate Christians, I just want to protect our precious Constitution.” Way to sugarcoat hate.

          • Jason Todd

            The funniest part is how we are seeing things like Dearborn, MI practically taken over by Islam, a public school accommodating a group of muslim students for prayer, and we are hearing absolutely nothing from the ACLU, the FFRF, Americans United, American Humanist Association. Nothing!

            In fact, check out the story on the latter issue, especially the comments. The way these anti-Christian bigots defy logic to cover up their hypocrisy and those of the aforementioned organizations is absolutely classic.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Maybe if you could point out some constitutional violations that the ACLU and the FFRF are ignoring instead of broad generalities, we could discuss them.

          • Croquet_Player

            For all his panicked fear-mongering about Muslims, Jason is woefully ignorant of the fact that all public school students have the right to pray in schools, whatever their faith may be. Which is why there’s nothing to be heard from the ACLU or the FFRF, etc. There’s no violation going on. It’s been explained to him a number of times, but no improvements in comprehension can be seen, alas.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            He can’t hear it from me though. He blocked me when he started to worry that I might say something that would force him to examine his views critically.

          • Croquet_Player

            He blocked me too. The internet equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Often seen in toddlers.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Stop being mean. People block you because you guys blaspheme and bully the Christians in Christian websites. If you had any honesty and kindness, you’d have told your friends to stop bullying the Christians. You Westerners always need Christian religion to behave humane and civilized. Get some Christian education to keep good manners.

          • Croquet_Player

            I am not “mean” to people, even when they are rude to me, nor do I “bully” anyone. I attended religious schools, so I have had a Christian education, thank you very much. Some might consider it rude that you are constantly telling other people what to do. How other people lead their lives is their business, not yours.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            “Christian” upbringing must be the reason you are relatively behaving better than other atheists here, but you must repent of your treason against God. Read the Holy Bible and return to Jesus to get saved. Why are you in the Christian site if you have deserted the truth?

          • Croquet_Player

            Kindly stop telling me what to do.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Can’t I have an answer?

          • Croquet_Player

            It’s always the same answer. We’ve heard it, many, many times.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            I’d like to know why you talk to Christians in a Christian news site.

          • Croquet_Player

            It’s a public website, and I like having reasonable discussions with people who may hold different opinions than I do, and I’m interested to hear what they think. I’m always open to the merits of a good argument, backed up by facts and evidence. It’s very easy to listen to people who agree with you all the time. It’s more challenging to hear different points of view.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Why do you like having reasonable discussions? What is your purpose of doing it?

          • Croquet_Player

            My dear Grace. As I explained, “It’s very easy to listen to people who agree with you all the time. It’s more challenging to hear different points of view.” Do you not understand that? That is the point of human inquiry. We ask questions. We discuss. We propose arguments. We consider the other person’s position. This is all part of a civil, reasonable dialogue. You write very well. I encourage you to stop just making pronouncements, and posit a good argument about why I should agree with you on one point or another. Use facts and evidence. You may be surprised. (On a personal note, I’m quite sure you’re a very nice lady, whom I would be happy to have as a neighbor.)

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Thank you, I have a feeling that you are quite a nice person, too, though that cannot be the supreme importance. You didn’t get my point. What is your purpose of asking questions, discussing, proposing arguments, and considering the other person’s position? My question is this. Does the quest have a specific goal or does it exist for its own sake? What is the purpose of doing those things? What is your personal purpose of doing them? Have you thought about it?

          • Croquet_Player

            I’m not sure you understood my previous answer. Please re-read it. It’s simply that I’m interested in other points of view.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are interested in other points of view, but that should be done to discover the truth and help others. Ex-christian secular culture only does asking questions, discussing, proposing arguments, and considering the other person’s position but seeks no God and no truth and leaves the victims alone in falsehood. You should seek the objective truth instead to get saved because everyone is a sinner.

          • Croquet_Player

            Grace, I realize you have an ironclad point of view in these matters, but I really am the best person to describe my own reasoning. And thanks again for simply announcing what I have to do according to you. Please note, I do not tell you how to think. You have yet to persuade me. On another note, I hope your spring is going very well, and the weather is nice where you are. We’ve had quite a bit of rain, and our two little doggies do not like it. Nor do they like their raincoats either!

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Yes, it’s going to cherry-blossom soon. God gave us all this. Repent your unbelief and thank Him and trust Him to get saved, C-P. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 (NRSV)

          • Croquet_Player

            Thank you for another unpersuasive directive. I hope you enjoy the season.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You should be persuaded to repent of your sin. It’s the right thing for you. You need Jesus Christ for salvation.

          • Croquet_Player

            So you keep saying.

          • RWH

            If the same public school was denying a Christian group from holding a Bible study or a Good News Club, you would have a point. But, if one group has permission to use facilities for religious activities, than all groups should have the same permission. Concerning a community being “taken over,” cultural shifts within communities are always disturbing to a segment of the population. Back in the 1950s, our Russian Orthodox church bought land in a community, a central location for our scattered congregation, and a number of people rose up against our building a “Commie Church” in their neighborhood. The courts helped us out, but the hate was evident. It was okay for the local Catholic church to ring its bells, but it was not okay for us to ring our bells. It was okay for Catholics to park on the street on Sunday morning (and their church had thousands going to Mass), but it was not okay for our small congregation to park on the streets. If the Moslems have the money to build their house of worship, and their building meets the established codes, they have every right to build their house of worship. If a significant number of Moslems buy homes or build their own within a community, those that hate Moslems may have a lot to scream about, but their hate doesn’t mitigate the rights of others to live out their lives and worship as they please. Cultural shifts are painful to many. Cotton Mather, a leading 18th century Puritan, shuttered at the idea that a Catholic might move into Boston. Yet, one century later, Catholics formed the majority of the citizenry of Boston and became the cathedral city of the primate of the Roman Catholic Church and the seat of the first Cardinal.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Again, I don’t see any evidence I’ve offered that would indicate that I hate Christians.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You do. Secular West thinks everyone must become homosexual immoral, and only the Biblical Christians are on your way.

        • tatoo

          Yes

          • Vern

            Good! Go for it!
            An insult from a lesbian is like a compliment from a normal human.
            Stupid gays and lesbians – you think decent respectable people care if you hate us. Such delusions.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          No, I don’t see anything I said that would indicate that.

          • antifasciste

            Apparently a difference of opinion, or a divirging analysis of the world equals hatred for some.

    • Jason Todd

      They don’t hate religion, just Christianity.

      • RWH

        They don’t hate all Christians. They just hate those that play king of the mountain in a pluralistic society. If the Catholic Church stretched its hand over society as it has done in the New England area as it did in the past, they would hate Catholics. Years ago, in the New England states, no politician dared to cross the bishops of the Catholic Church. Why do you think that the Kennedys got so much political power in the 1950s?

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Yes, they do. America’s liberal whites should stop attacking the Christians now the colored are the majority of the Christian religion on Planet Earth.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    US military is meaningless if USA does not uphold Christianity. The USA is a mere Sodom if no Christianity. What’s the use of preserving a Sodom on earth? Americans need Christianity to get saved and stay good.

    • ForrestErickson

      Grace,

      News flash. Yahweh is Man Made Myth and the Hebrew bible is not the supreme law of our land. Our constitution is. Unlike the Hebrew bible our constitution has been improved for example to outlaw slavery. The Hebrew bible still awaits that improvement.

      • Jason Todd

        You know what I like less than an atheist? An ignorant one. There is no “Hebrew Bible.” Jews use the Pentateuch, or the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament.

        Blocked.

        • ForrestErickson

          Jason,
          So what every you want to call it and how ever you like it, in Leviticus do the verse 44-46 of book 25 remain?
          *******************************************************************
          25:44
          Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids,
          which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy
          bondmen and bondmaids.

          25:45
          Moreover of the
          children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye
          buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in
          your land: and they shall be your possession.

          25:46
          And ye shall take them
          as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a
          possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your
          brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with
          rigour.
          **********************************************************************

          On the other hand our constitution has been improved.
          13th amendment:
          Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except
          as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
          convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to
          their jurisdiction.

          Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

          Hurray for improving morality I say.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Slavery has been a way of all mankind’s living until the white Christian missionaries abolished it in the entire world by teaching everyone how to read and write. Thank God that white men were not homosexual pervs when they owned slaves. God spared the world from the real irriversible grief. Childless Sodomic West should stop enslaving mankind with homosexuality. People have rights to God’s truth and morality.

          • RWH

            No, they just raped the women and split up families by selling children from under their parents.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            But they fed them well, too. Anything is better than starvation. The English were the least evil people on earth, until they started forcing homosexuality upon everyone this century. You guys are crazy this century. I feel sorry for your normal ancestors. Any group in the history is morally better than today’s baby-killing Western pervs and their faithful servants.

          • RWH

            Well, you just haven’t researched this enough. Harriot Jacobs and Frederick Douglass are two slaves who wrote narratives detailing the mistreatment of slaves. They were raped, starved, forced to live in substandard housing. The masters could do anything they wanted with their slaves, including killing them. If slaves had such a nice life, the United States would not have had the justification for a civil war.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            There were also many whites who knew slavery was wrong, educated the slaves, and risked life and died for their freedom. Among all tribes on earth, the English was the only tribe who corrected their own wrong without being forced by the foreigners. The black slaves always differenciated the good whites and the bad whites, and they converted to Christianity because they respected the good white Christians. I wish today’s well-fed Americans would mourn about their PRESENT evil tyrannical perversions instead of slandering the yeasteryears’ slender hard-working creators of the USA. Unlike today’s fattend people’s easy life in the Ex-christian West, everyone’s life was hard in those years, not just that of the slaves.’

          • RWH

            Yes, there were many whites who know that slavery was wrong, and because of that, we fought our Civil War against those whites who thought that slavery was sanctioned by Scripture. Look up the history of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as the other Protestant denominations that split. The Presbyterians and the Methodists managed to merge back again after the Civil War. The Baptists never did. For every clergyman like Henry Ward Beecher (a theological liberal and the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), there were a dozen southern preachers who were members of the Klu Klux Klan, an organization whose mission was to defend American from the blacks, the Catholics, and especially, the Jews.

            However, as Americans, we tend to look introspectively at our history, an we’re willing to admit that a lot of people did wrong. Andrew Jackson was a president who claimed to be born again, but that did not stop him from using federal troops to drive the Cherokee Indians from their home in North Carolina to the Oklahoma wilderness. Every year, a play is put on both in North Carolina and Oklahoma that documents the Trail of Tears where countless Indians died from mistreatment. While it is wrong to focus exclusively on the bad, it is also just as bad–or even worse–to paint history with a rosy brush and excuse some of the evil that took place.

            America has gone through some tremendous cultural shifts, and we are going through one now, partially due to technological advances and partially because the new wave of immigrants are coming from the Third World. The Irish were perceived as a threat in h 1800s because their Catholicism supplanted the neat little world that the Puritans had set up and became a very strong political force that controlled everything. If Protestants bucked the system, the Catholics would boycott their businesses and drive them to bankruptcy. Fortunately, those days were over in the late 1960s. Jewish immigration changed the entire culture of New York City and Long Island where half of the Jewish population in the United States live. When I was growing up, I saw more menorahs than I did Christmas trees displayed in stores. We never had prayer in schools, and we had Jewish high holy days off. We had spring break at Passover rather than Holy Week. Those things happen in a cultural shift.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            At that time all white people considered themselves to be Christian. KKK is democrats. Humanists and liberals weren’t that chaotic evil those days. The definition is different from now. Lincoln and his kind believed in everyone’s human dignity that the Holy Bible taught and they liberated slaves. The mainliners weren’t apostates until several decades ago.

            Americans don’t know other Earthlings’ history, and that’s why you keep bashing your own race needlessly and promote homosexuality today. A weirdest phenomenon on Planet Earth. Bashing one’s own normal parents and forcing others to become destructive immoral like self – what’s the point? Something went seriously wrong in the 80’s.

            Don’t blame the Jews or Muslims or anyone. You Americans got the easy, prosperous life from the hard-working Christian pioneers and colonists. Being full, Americans started wanting warped amusement all the time and collapsed the nation’s morality, listening to self-worshipping New Agers and female “ministers” in the arena. Southern Baptists are the last moral Americans in the land and you should listen to them.

          • ForrestErickson

            Grace,
            The Hebrew bible, the bible of Yahweh says this about slavery,

            “Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.”

            The Hebrew bible does not know that slavery is wrong.

            Why does the bible not know slavery is wrong?

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Mankind had to be subdued by Israel because pagans are born-barbaric and abusive. The evil cultures had to be changed in their foundation. God knew mankind can never get rid of slavery; today, 99% is a slave to 1%. But anyone can live as a freeman once he learns how to read and write and read the Holy Bible. That’s what American Puritans wanted for all mankind and established a Chritendom(USA) for all to be free man. Man is free in Christ. (John chapter 8) Today, Sodomic USA tries to enslave mankind with homosexuality, and the Holy Bible is the best weapon against the slavery-hungry Western perverts of this century, as always. You guys should be really ashamed of yourselves.

          • C_Alan_Nault

            I love Jesus

      • Vern

        Ignorant dolt, most of the abolitionists were Christians.

        You gays never read a book of history in your lives.

      • InTheChurch

        Improved to kill babies and get paid for the parts.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        You are wrong. Non-christian USA is barbaric and Sodomic. Non-christian West enslaves mankind with homosexuality. You guys are rich and powerful and bored, eating up everything your Christian ancestors toiled hard for, but you guys should stop forcing immorality on Planet Earth. Sodomic USA thinks every Earthling has to become a homosexual or something worse. The West is civilized only when it has Judeo-Christian doctrines. If you are not raising your own children, you guys should never order around people. Your racist fathers are better humans than your generation regading morality. Get the Holy Bible and retain sanity.

      • Sharon_at_home

        Bible wording or meaning cannot be changed to reflect the times.
        The slavery mentioned here WAS like a regular thing in those times, so that’s not a surprise that it was mentioned when it was accepted as “normal”.
        If you believe it’s a myth then why do you bother pushing it at Christians.
        Believe what you believe and let us believe what we believe.
        You are on a Christian site so you can expect Christians to be talking about our faith, so if you don’t want to hear about our faith and beliefs, you shouldn’t come here.
        Treat people the way you want to be treated. So if you don’t want us to push our beliefs on you, you should not be pushing yours on us.

        • ForrestErickson

          Sharron_at_home,

          Regarding, “Bible wording or meaning cannot be changed
          to reflect the times. ” Seams that should be a problem for you. How is
          it that 19th century man came up with the text of the 13th amendment

          Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
          punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
          shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their
          jurisdiction.

          Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[1]

          Buy Yahweh never did.

          Looks to me that humans have done a better job than Yahweh.

          Why?

    • tatoo

      Bullshit.

      • Vern

        Flagged.
        Take your trashy lesbian vulgarity elsewhere.

        • Worf

          Your hypocrisy is astounding.

  • Guzzman

    The only role of military chaplains, if they are performing their assigned duties properly, is to provide personal counseling to those who seek assistance. Military chaplains are forbidden by law from proselytizing, particularly at mandatory military ceremonies where attendees constitute a captive audience.

    • Jason Todd

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Guzzman

        Government employees, including military chaplains, are prohibited from using their official positions to promote religion. According to a federal court decision directly dealing with the military chaplaincy’s constitutionality, Katcoff v. Marsh, “the primary function of the military chaplain is to engage in activities designed to meet the religious needs of a pluralistic military community.” Military chaplains are hired to serve military personnel “who wish to use them,” the court observed; they are not authorized “to proselytize soldiers or their families.”

        • Jason Todd

          Government employees, including military chaplains, are prohibited from using their official positions to coerce or advance religion.

          False. See: First Amendment, United States Constitution.

          According to a federal court decision directly dealing with the military chaplaincy’s constitutionality, Katcoff v. Marsh,

          Katcoff was about a pair of atheists who wanted to eliminate military chaplains altogether. The court you cite, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled servicemembers have a right to engage in religious worship.

          Maybe you are thinking of the Air Force secretary’s 2013 blatantly unconstitutional gag order that prohibits people in leadership positions from talking about their faith.

          I hope you noticed the phrase, “blatantly unconstitutional.” For reference, it’s the United States Constitution, Amendment One.

          • Guzzman

            You are correct to point to the First Amendment, and because we are dealing with government, military chaplains in particular, we need to point specifically to the Establishment Clause which mandates government neutrality on religious matters. “The touchstone of the Establishment Clause is ‘the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.'”[McCreary County v. ACLU], 545 U.S. 844, 860 (2005).

            Courts have held that scheduling prayers or other religious exercises at mandatory meetings for government employees constitutes illegal government endorsement of religion, e.g., Warnock v. Archer.

            You misinterpret Katcoff v. Marsh, which held that military chaplains do not violate the Establishment Clause because their purpose is to provide personal counseling to those who seek assistance – they are not authorized “to proselytize soldiers or their families.”

          • Jason Todd

            You are aware the “establishment clause” wasn’t placed there to restrict religious speech within the government, including the military, right? It says Congress cannot create its own religion.

            No, that’s people in black robes saying what you are, and people like FFRF, twisting it in trying to eradicate Christian speech in America.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Your distaste for certain judicial rulings does absolutely nothing to invalidate them.

          • Trilemma

            “It says Congress cannot create its own religion.”

            That’s not what it says. It says Congress shall not make laws respecting an establishment of religion. The Southern Baptist Convention is an establishment of religion. Therefore, the government can’t favor the SBC. The Roman Catholic Church is an establishment of religion. Therefore, the government can’t favor the RCC. And so on.

          • Jason Todd

            Look up the word “establish” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary (there’s an actual website for it).

            You’re welcome.

          • Trilemma

            I looked up the word “establishment” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. It says an establishment is something that has been established.

          • Jason Todd

            Liar. I instructed you to seek the definition of “establish,” not “establishment.”

            According to the 1828 dictionary, to establish is to set, to put in place.

            What do you think it means when it says in the Preamble, “… do ordain and establish this Constitution…?”

          • Trilemma

            The First Amendment uses the word “establishment,” not “establish.” So, it’s the definition of establishment that matters.

          • Jason Todd

            Playing semantics instead of admitting you are wrong. Fascinating.

            You libs are so entertaining.

          • Trilemma

            Semantics is important but you’re trying to rewrite the First Amendment according to what you want it to say.

          • Jason Todd

            If you honestly believe the First Amendment says anything other than exactly what it says you have reading comprehension problems.

            I have already laid out how and why the First Amendment doesn’t say anything about promoting one religion over another. The Constitution doesn’t say that. It was people in black robes who did.

          • Not Guilty

            Trollenema

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “…the ‘establishment clause’ wasn’t placed there to restrict religious speech within the government.” The Supreme Court disagrees.

            Board of Education v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990): “There is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause FORBIDS, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect.”

          • Jason Todd

            The Supreme Court disagrees.

            Don’t care what they think. They also said it is okay to kill your unborn child in the name of convenience, same-sex couples can marry, and made judges the final authority on all things legal. None of which are in the Constitution.

            I go by what the Constitution says. Period, end of discussion.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            “Don’t care what they think. They also said it is okay to kill your unborn child in the name of convenience, same-sex couples can marry, and made judges the final authority on all things legal. None of which are in the Constitution.”

            And yet, the rest of the country, who are not petulant little children having hissy fits, obey the Supreme Court.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            I will never cease to be amazed by people who think this is a valid argument. The country simply does not care whether you care. We have a system of laws, and under that system, the Supreme Court has the final say on what the Constitution means.

            No, it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. The law is the law. The Supreme Court is not subservient to you.

          • Johndoe

            Definitely not the end of discussion

          • Johndoe

            Too funny!

  • ForrestErickson

    To paraphrase Ben 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 (c-i-v-i-l-
    p-o-w-e-r) military chain of command, ’tis a sign, I
    apprehend, of its being a bad one.

    • Jason Todd

      What’s your point?

      • ForrestErickson

        Jason,

        I believe it was founder Ben Franklin making a point. What was his point?
        If you can describe it then I think you will see how the paraphrasing works.

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          Read his autography. He loved and respected Christianity very much. America’s goodness and intelligence is impossible outside of Christianity. Americans who do not respect Christianity support infanticide and sodomy without exception. USA needs the Holy Bible to be good and stay civilized.

          • RWH

            Ben Franklin was not a Christian. In his letter to Thomas Paine, he stated that he agreed with Paine’s godless views but admonished him not to broadcast them as to disturb the populace. If you bother to look up Franklin’s private correspondence, you will find his private views toward Christianity.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            But his autography was full of support of Christianity. Americans are impossible outside of Christianity. Westerners act smarter than the Holy Bible and it’s you guys’ cultural defects. You guys are just shameless nudists if you have no Holy Bible or Christianity. Admit that. Stop hating your own parents and good educators.

          • RWH

            As with the other founders of our country, many had a different public persona from their private one. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were deists rather than Christians. They did not believe in a personal god. Franklin, on the other hand, was what we might call an atheist. He went to hear preaching by Whitford at the time, but he did so as a curiosity. He wanted to see its effect on the culture of the day. He stayed very silent concerning his own personal take on what Whitford had to say. Whitford was an Anglican clergyman, and the Puritans rabidly opposed him since they hated the Church of England, and he was challenging their authority over the people. At this time, Puritanism as a political force was pretty much dead, and Methodism, and to a lesser extent, the Baptists were gaining ground in Puritan territory.

            In his private letters, especially the ones to Ezra Styles and Thomas Paine, Franklin agreed with their atheistic sentiments, but he asked these people to tone down their arguments because religion was a restraining factor. When Thomas Paine got himself in trouble in France during the French Revolution, it was Franklin who got him out of the country and out of trouble. Thomas Paine, who aroused American sentiments to rebel against England, returned as a hated man because of his atheism. Any anthology of American literature should have these two letters included. They reveal a lot about Franklin, the private man, as opposed to the public persona that Franklin wished others to believe.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            The Western civilization including the USA is possible only because of the noble Christian religion. Americans are iliterate barbarians if they had no Christianity or the Holy Bible. Americans got their civilized life from the Christian Britons. You guys should admit the stealing. Washington DC buildings resemble those of Vatican. Admit that you copied everything. The Church made Americans to have a civilized life. No one thanks Americans nowadays because you guys are ungrateful to the Christians.

          • RWH

            The Lutherans from Germans and the Scandinavian countries planted the cross of Jesus Christ in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The Russian Orthodox planted the cross of Jesus Christ in Alaska. The Catholics from Spain and southern Europe planted the cross of Jesus Christ in parts of the American south as well as Central and South America. Great Britain did not do things alone. The Church might have contributed to the culture, but we were the first government to recognize the evils of a state church, and we did two novel things: We broke from the concept of a monarchy, and we broke from the concept of a state church designed to support that monarchy. We formed a government which works quite well.

            As far as the buildings in DC go, we copied Greek classical architecture. The buildings are not built in the Baroque style as is the Vatican. Just because a building has pillars, it doesn’t mean that it is a Vatican copy.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Yes, the European Christendom. USA is its child. DC building look too identical to Vatican. Outlook tells everything.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            They were all Christian-educated. Europeans and Americans are illiterate like the rest of mankind without the Christian Church. Know your own history.

          • RWH

            We’re a lot more educated than you. America wouldn’t be where it is today if we were so illiterate as you claim. You don’t know squat.

            By the way, by the time that the framers of the Constitution came around, Harvard and the other schools were pretty much secularized as were the leading European universities. If they were so “Christian-educated,” why is it that so many of the framers were Deists, who repudiated all of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity? I already documented that both Franklin and Thomas Paine were unbelievers and atheists before anyone knew what the term meant.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Harvard was created to produce Christian pastors. Americans knew no religion other than Christianity. Americans stole every noble thoughts from the Holy Bible and from the Christian Britons. You guys invented stuff, not thoughts. Admit that.

          • http://www.moonbatdan.com/ Dan

            Why don’t you get off her back?
            Why do gays hate women so much?

            Get a life.

          • RWH

            I wouldn’t know what gays think; however, I do know a lot of gays who have great relationships with women. They just fell in love with men. I also know a lot of lesbians who have great relationships with men, but they too fell in love with a woman. If you did some research, you would find that this stereotype is not true.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            They all promote immorality. USA needs Christian morality to live.

          • RWH

            Well, unless you know these people personally, you cannot judge what these people promote. We have plenty of Christianity here. The problem is that all the churches, even the most conservative ones, are having a real problem keeping their numbers. One significant issue is that millennials are basically turned off by churches meddling into politics. No matter how much lamenting and hand-wringing goes on, the trend is continuing.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are talking like a Third Worlder instead of true Americans. Truth prevails because it is true. Christians are praying for America’s repentance. There is still time.

          • RWH

            People have been paying for America’s repentance as long as I can remember. In the 1920s, it was women who cut their hair and wore makeup. Then it was short skirts. Then it was women who wanted to vote. Then, it was women who wanted to work. Then, it was the fight against segregation. Then we had student protests. As long as I remember, people have been screaming like Chicken Licken that the sky is falling in. I had a Sunday School teacher who thought that I Love Lucy was destroying the morals of the country. This guy was so extreme and paranoid that even his children left him, and he died lonely. I know of too many people who will lament God’s impending judgement than going out and getting their hands dirty. I’m on the board of a religious organization that has the mission to help troubled youth. The fundamentalists are nowhere to be found. They just throw stones at us.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are wrong. Fundamentalist missionaries are the lifeline and they are evereywhere, working tirelessly. Only the Lord decides what happens to civilizations according to His mercy and justice. There have been revivals by His Spirit throughout the Planet Earth. You know only partially.

  • Croquet_Player

    If you want prayers at military events, be prepared to hear prayers from other faiths than Christianity.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Yep, and you’re not going to like some of them.

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      No, Christianity alone created the USA. Secular West is the only civilization that repays evil to its own long-standing intelligent good conscience. Secular West does that because it has no children of its own and wants to live out sexual depravity.

      • Croquet_Player

        Seriously, for someone who likes the U.S. so much, admiring it from afar, you really have no clue whatsoever how our government works.

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          Sometimes, far-away outsiders see things better than the natives. You guys need Christianity; it is the only life-saving truth for your tribe.

          • Croquet_Player

            So you keep saying, in every single post. Instead of repeating the same thing over and over again, ad nauseum, you might wish to go to the trouble of familiarizing yourself with some basic civics lessons. You could learn a lot about the country you admire.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            I love the USA but you liberals are ruining it. The USA needs Christian education to be free and happy, not the liberals’ evil reign.

          • Croquet_Player

            So you have said, repeatedly.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You need to repent your sin and trust in Jesus to be saved. That’s my message for you. Cherish your own soul.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Pray often.

  • Faithwalker

    Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

    For millennia the god of this world has attempted to eradicate Christ’s message from the face of the earth, but he has failed at every turn and will continue to do so. Christ’s message is still here and continues to reign supreme.

    • ForrestErickson

      Faithwalker,
      What about these words of Yahweh from the Hebrew bible,

      “Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in
      your land: and they shall be your possession.”

      Have they passed away?

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        The Hebrews had to correct the pagans of demon-worships and barbarism first before freedom and equality for all was ever established. Otherwise, both all children and the nation of Israel would got hurt seriously. Possession means making someone civilized as well. Read Psalms chapters 1 – 3.

      • Faithwalker

        Your reference scripture and question is outside of the context of my post. It’s important to understand how to exegete and not isogete the word of God. Understanding and discernment of God’s word in its proper context, specifically when you study His word entails God’s spirit revealing to you how to properly exegete His word. What you have done is picked a random verse that does not correlate with the scripture I quoted. So therefore I do not have an answer to your question.

        • ForrestErickson

          Faithwalker,
          Regarding, “Understanding and discernment of God’s word in its proper context”

          What context makes

          “Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of
          them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they
          begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.”

          acceptable?

          From my world view there is no context that ever makes buying and selling another person (and their children) acceptable.

          • Faithwalker

            My post had nothing to do with the business of “buying and selling” people. Two different subjects. My post simply states that humankind has tried to remove God and His word from the world for over 2000+ years But has been unsuccessful, and they will continue to be.

          • ForrestErickson

            But Faithwalker you wrote, “but My words will never pass away.” and so the words about “buying and selling” people, which are deeply IMMORAL, demand explanation since they have not passed away.

            Now, my explanation is that Yahweh is simply Man Made Myth and reflects the ideas of the Hebrew nation of about 26 or 27 centuries ago. Humans have improved on those ideas since.

            I do not blame you for not trying. There is no way to do so.

          • Faithwalker

            And ForrestErickson I do not blame you for not comprehending the context of the scriptures. Please note, my statement is not in anyway presented to demean you. But it is apparent you are not a believer and so your preconceived presumption presents a problem with furthering our discussion. Which brings to mind a scripture that states in
            2 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

            My prayer for you is that God releases the darkness from your eyes and heart that blinds you from the true love of Christ.

    • NCOriolesFan

      Not even the communist Soviets could erase Christianity from their godless country. Now the church flourishes freely in Russia today.

      • Faithwalker

        You know NCOrioles even though Russia is still trying to eradicate Christianity from their country, your right the church is just as strong as ever.