The Politics of Prayer


One thing I've never understood is the controversy religion inspires. After all, when you look at the biggies -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam -- don't all three share the same core values of a belief in a deity that is bigger than what we see in front of us every day? Of goodness and good works that come from caring for our fellow man? And isn't it people, not the religion itself, that always seems to get in the way?

Here in Missouri, an amendment to protect the rights of Christians to pray in public passed overwhelmingly. Apparently, some felt they were under attack because they can no longer open public meetings with a Christian prayer. It's an interesting argument given that 80% of Missourians are Christians.

Our school (a private school) had a similar concern. And a traditional grace that was said before lunch was changed to a non sectarian one. And here's the key. They did it without involving all of the parents. At first, that rubbed me the wrong way but then I thought about the controversy a move like that might have inspired. The basic purpose remains the same. The children still pause for reflection and offer gratitude. There is still a moment of silence when an individual can say a traditional prayer to himself. But no one is forced to pray to a God that isn't their own.

Maybe that's the way to change the world. Start at the kids' level. Let's teach them that religion is a private matter. Separation of church and state is one of our country's founding principles. No one can ever take our right to pray away. Nor should they.

Of course, any time a vote like this comes up in a tightly contested election year like the 2012 Election promises to be, I immediately think "wedge issue!" This could galvanize the base and likely will. And upon closer "reflection," isn't that what it is ultimately about? Religious freedom is already guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. Which begs the question of what is really going on here? As I've said before, maybe we all need to pray that we can get the religion out of politics!

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see Do States Need Right to Pray Amendments?

2012 election, islam, religion, politics


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cecil... cecilmansmom

wrong Ali we don't work our way to Heaven we only accept what Christ did on the cross. It's like if someone has a hundred dollar bill in their hand and their hand is extended to you to get that bill all you have to do is open yours and accept it. Just the same just accept the gift of Jesus and as the old song goes 


I am on my way to Heaven where the saints are robed in white
Shouting glory, shouting glory!
To that blessèd land immortal where can never come the night,
Shouting glory all the way!

it is just that simple it is man that makes it out to be difficult 

nonmember avatar Tito

@cecilmom, I feel sorry for you. You are so narrow minded and foolish. There is a whole world out there that you are missing because you have such blind and unquestioning faith in something that doesn't even exist. Poor cecil.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

Okay, I'm not a Christian, but even i know it takes more than blind faith to get to Heaven. Anyone can accept Jesus but it takes more than that to deserve a place in Heaven. Yes you have to "work" at living by his teachings. A murderer, thief, rapist, etc could accept Jesus, doesn't mean he's going anywhere good.

nonmember avatar liamia

Yes, all religions are equally nonsensical. It is just as stupid as debating the relative merits of Santa Claus versus the Easter Bunny versus the Tooth Fairy. congrats.

nonmember avatar shannamorgan

@cecil's mom, EVERY time I read this woman's posts on this site, I just think "Poor Cecil, this kid doesn't stand a chance."

PonyC... PonyChaser

Getting back to the article, I have to disagree with Christina on a few points: First, "Here in Missouri, an amendment to protect the rights of Christians to pray in public passed overwhelmingly."

Nowhere in the text of the amendment did it specify Christian. Rather, it stated, " secure a citizen's right to acknowledge Almighty God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience". Perhaps the amendment was pushed by Christian Groups (I believe that link is one created by a coalition of Christian groups, but it contains the full text of the amendment on the first page). This Amendment will protect ALL religions' right to pray in public - Christian, Jew, Islamic, Wiccan, Buddhist, etc.


PonyC... PonyChaser

Second, this statement sent a cold chill down my spine: "Maybe that's the way to change the world. Start at the kids' level."

You know what they call that, right? Indoctrination. When Hitler did it, it was abhorrent. Radical Islamists do it in places like Pakistan, sending children to schools where they learn that the West is evil, and how to kill. But it's all ok, when we do it here?

No. How about we give our kids a firm grounding in actual history? Teach them the Constitution. Assign them to read the actual writings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of the great leaders in history? And then we'll be able to trust them to make their own decisions, and those that are best for our country when they get older. But no, probably indoctrination is best. It's certainly easiest.

nonmember avatar heather77

You christians have pretty low standards for you "lord." So a rapist murderer who is truly repentent gets into heaven, but a person who spends their entire life helping people and giving money, time, etc. to make the world better, but doesn't believe in god or Jesus gets to burn for eternity just for not worshipping him. Great system. Certainly a "loving father." If a father on earth tried that shit, we'd be calling CPS!!!

nonmember avatar tito

@Heather, Shanna, and Liamia, we all seem to be of the same mind. I'm curious - do any of you subscribe to any organized religion? I was raised Christian, but I turned away from any religion a long time ago. It seems to me that the majority of extremely religious people (not just Christians) are huge hypocrites.

nonmember avatar tito

@cecilsmanmom, I'd honestly like to know what you think will happen to the small child, raised in India, or Rwanda, or Peru, or wherever, who has never heard of Jesus. He drowns in a river, or gets hit by a bus, or is a victim of violence, and dies. Is he going to burn in hell for all eternity??

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