There was an article in the Columbus Dispatch yesterday about a controversy brewing in the Ohio State House over guest chaplins and the things they've been saying in the prayers they open each session with. It seems that while the guidelines encourage preachers to say non-denominational prayers and to avoid controversial topics, well, the preachers have been kinda doing whatever they want... evangelizing, LOTS of Jesus, and even preaching about bills that were to be debated about on the floor of the legislature that same day.
I could have seen this coming a mile away.
While the Supreme Court in 1983 ruled that these prayers much be non-denominational, non-sectarian, and non-proselytizing, we all know very well that militant Christians don't think they need to concern themselves with what the Supreme Court has said in the past.
So rather than do the obvious and ban the prayers altogether as being unConstitutional, the legislature has attempted to institute rules to get preachers to submit their prayers 72 hours in advance... oh, wait, they are just trying to enforce a rule already in place... but then there is that nasty free speech thing. If you invite someone in to speak, how can you then limit what they are allowed to say?
Instead of doing the only thing that will satisfy all Constitutional principles most easily, they still run around acting like this is some major crisis if they can't invoke god to do a good day's work.
How many people do you know pray at their desks before they start work? And I'm not talking about Christian evangelicals here; I'm talking about normal people?
Don't think I didn't notice that Jerry Falwell died last week, it's just that some people really knew the guy and may be genuinely mourning him... a wife, a child or grandchild, a sibling, a friend. These people didn't see Falwell the way I see him (as an enemy of freedom and rationality) but as a human being. For these people--for mourning is for the living after all, the dead couldn't care less what I say--I will refrain from rejoicing in anyone's death. I think of what I would think if someone had horrible things to say about my grandfather when he died. It would have devistated my grandmother. I don't blame others who have lashed out against the overly reverent media coverage, but I will resist the temptation for now.