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May 2, 2002
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Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General Government. --Thomas Jefferson
posted by rushmc (25 comments total)

 
As long as Rev. Olgivie is praying for God to hand out supernatural powers, would it be too much for him to ask god to give me x-ray vision so I can see through ladies clothes...
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on May 2, 2002


*looks at jonmc and says "...the power of christ condemns you".
posted by adnanbwp at 5:56 PM on May 2, 2002


*sigh*

The article is predictably misleading about the origin of public prayer in America. Though the article correctly states that the National Day of Prayer was created about 50 years ago, it conveniently neglects to cover any history prior to 1950. A reader who didn't know better might conclude that state sponsered national prayer is a new thing. It's not.

The truth of the matter is, of course, that in 1789 George Washington himself proclaimed the very first day of "public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.'" And he did it at the express request of the first Congress, just after that Congress had passed the bill of rights. Presidents have pretty much done the same thing ever since.

Now lets turn to Jefferson. By "General Government", Jefferson meant the national government ONLY. Basically, the federal government didn't have the right to proscribe religious exercise, not because proscribing religious exercises was an improper function of government, but rather because the states hadn't delegated that right to the federal governemnt. And, sure enough, as governor of Virginia, Jefferson supported state-sponsored days of prayer.

But I suspect that's not the point you were trying to make.
posted by gd779 at 6:02 PM on May 2, 2002


If I become a Christian, will God give me claws like Wolverine? I'll convert for claws.
posted by homunculus at 6:02 PM on May 2, 2002


Jesus helps me trick people.
posted by Foosnark at 6:05 PM on May 2, 2002


Okay. Like it or not the majority of politicians who get major positions of power in our government are religious people. Why? Cuz the majority of people who actually vote are religious Christians, and they only vote for God-fearing men. Personally I'd like to see what a wiccan female would do in the catbird seat, but that probably won't happen in my lifetime.

We can argue whether or not this is in fact one nation under one God. Whether or not the founding fathers were truly God-fearing. My take is that the longhaired rebels of the 1770s didn't want to see America ruled by the Pope, but if George happened to be an Episcopalian or Ben happened to be a Quaker that was okay. Your opinion will no doubt differ. The day of prayer thing was intended to be helpful and bring people together not tear them apart. Some use the day to stand on their own soap box and push their own agenda. It's D.C. we're talking about. So what else is new?

Today the religious right is still powerful, but it's being attacked on many sides and most notably the catholic church has some dry rot that is weakening it from within. God is not the enemy. People who use God for their own selfish thirst for power and control: that's our enemy.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2002


I'm not real wild about a National Day of Prayer sanctioned by the government, but as to the parts of it sanctioned by government, they seem pretty nonsectarian. The "NDP Task Force" seems to be a group of private citizens, seperate from Olgivie.

Jonmc - I figure I've got the same amount of pull with The Man Upstairs as Olgivie has, so I prayed for that. Also spoke to Allah, but I figure those guys are awfully busy telling people to blow themselves and/or others up. Finally had to settle for Thor, who seems to have plenty of time on his hands. Lemme know how it works out.
posted by swell at 6:17 PM on May 2, 2002


[God is not the enemy. People who use God for their own selfish thirst for power and control: that's our enemy.]

I raise my glass in honor of ZachsMind. Cheers!
posted by revbrian at 6:51 PM on May 2, 2002


Like it or not the majority of politicians who get major positions of power in our government are religious people. Why? Cuz the majority of people who actually vote are religious Christians, and they only vote for God-fearing men.

Does that make them religious people? or despicable hypocrites?

Of course, some would say that those are one and the same.
posted by rushmc at 7:10 PM on May 2, 2002


Does that make them religious people? or despicable hypocrites?
Of course, some would say that those are one and the same.

Thats about as trolling as referrring to "christian mythology"
posted by jmd82 at 7:18 PM on May 2, 2002


Okay, I'll ask: How is referring to "christian mythology" trolling?
posted by rushmc at 9:02 PM on May 2, 2002


An interesting article. Something that immediately came to my attention was this: does prayer, or belief in God, immediately create a religion? More simply, can we have God without religion, or vice versa? As far as I can see, a national day of prayer is perfectly legal in our society because it does not specify religion, nor does it exclude anyone. Or, if you argue that it does exclude atheists, for instance, does Mother's Day not exclude men, etc...

Does that make them religious people? or despicable hypocrites?
Of course, some would say that those are one and the same.


Speaking of soapboxes...Gad, shut up man! Your comments have the pungent odor of atheist arrogance. Ha, you religious folk are so stupid for believing in a boogeyman, indeed.

Okay, I'll ask: How is referring to "christian mythology" trolling?

Do we need to have this conversation again rushmc? It seems to me we were just arguing this a couple months ago. See here.

I get it. To all the atheists who have a compelling need to disprove Christianity on MeFi, I get it...but it's pointless. The only reason you enjoy your rants are to stroke your ego, acting like atheism is the absolute truth and religion is just some fantasy that people will eventually grow out of. I think arrogant atheists are the ones that need to wake up. Note, there are intelligent, and humble atheists. There are those who don't care to "convert" non-atheists. Truth is, for all the prattling that goes on here, atheism may as well be its own religion.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:59 PM on May 2, 2002


How about a Biblical prayer.

'Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.'

No amount of supernatural power matters to us without the will of our God.
posted by aaronshaf at 10:01 PM on May 2, 2002


God, BlueTrain, you prove yourself more of a jerk with every post you write.
posted by rushmc at 10:10 PM on May 2, 2002


I would say that referring that "x-ian mythology" is a troll b/c the only times i've seen people say it in the past, the only intent of the saying is to get a rise out of the x-ians and will lead to a flame-war (then again, religion debated oft times do turn into a flame-war). If you don't believe in God, thats find and great, but people know that the "mythology" part rises ire in a lot of people and one ought to call something what it is- not add in extra words just for the hell of it. Of course, i may be way off base.

God, BlueTrain, you prove yourself more of a jerk with every post you write.
One could say the same for every time an atheist thinks they are better than God-fearing people and make snide remarks just to get a rise out of people.
posted by jmd82 at 12:16 AM on May 3, 2002


The question on my mind is: do any of our leaders being prayed for actually believe they have supernatural powers of some kind. If they do, well, that's absolutely terrifying.
posted by homunculus at 12:25 AM on May 3, 2002


Can we take time to dintinguish between those who are spiritual to those who are religious. For the persons who claim the mantle of Christian I would like to remind each of you what Jesus thought of being religious. I believe His favorite word to address that issue was hypocrite. And then there was always the issue of money that Jesus loved to address, a message that Falwell and Robertson would do well to take to heart (what will you serve?).

Regardless of any traditions in America about proclaiming these days of prayer, it does seem to be stepping over the line, and it does consume taxpayer dollars.
posted by nofundy at 5:17 AM on May 3, 2002


Rats! "distinguish"
posted by nofundy at 5:18 AM on May 3, 2002


Praying for supernatural powers for Americans isn't going to do any good. Remember what happened Sept. 11? Nineteen Arab Muslims prayed for success, and hundreds of American airline passengers (mostly Christian) prayed that they would survive the hijackings. God answered the Arab Muslims' prayers. God clearly isn't on America's side in this war, and there's no use praying about it.
posted by Holden at 6:30 AM on May 3, 2002


Is a voluntary day of prayer "prescribing"? If a pressure group latches onto the day and pushes an agenda, does that taint the government's actions retroactively? Is "supernatural power" -- surely a grandiose phrase describing the strength of faith -- the same thing as comic-book "superpowers"? Finally, is there any non-sectarian, ecumenical group supporting the NDP?

Certainly the secularists have been pushing their own views on this for some time; predictably, they don't like it.

Personally, I find this annoying but effectively harmless. A bit of an eye-roll. I don't think we can require our leaders not to attend any religious ceremony they feel like, and the fact that they do is no prescription on me. If Bush addresses the Hog Farmers of Missouri tomorrow, does that mean I have to become a Hog Farmer?

Holden: troll much? Good grief.
posted by dhartung at 7:40 AM on May 3, 2002


Oh, gd: prescribe != proscribe. Just a heads up.
posted by dhartung at 7:42 AM on May 3, 2002


Okay, I'll ask: How is referring to "christian mythology" trolling?

If you don't believe in God, thats find and great, but people know that the "mythology" part rises ire in a lot of people and one ought to call something what it is- not add in extra words just for the hell of it.


myth: A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society

yes, it's come to have the secondary meaning of a fiction, but that's only because most people have come to see most mythologies as fictional. You happen to believe that your mythology is factual. But it's just like that atheist saying: we only believe in one less god than you. You agree that the exploits of Zeus are not true. And you probably think of those myths as silly children's tales, but that's how stories of arks and whales sound to non-christians.

Zeus was also discussed by great philosophers and was not simply a man with lightning. Heraclitus said, "the One both does and does not want to be called Zeus" (in the traditional translation, anyway); the greeks had as much concern over losing touch with the One through idolatry or naming as the Jews or many other tribes. What is translated as Word in John is the greek word Logos, which has much greater meaning than Word (it is also translated as reason, ratio, language, meaning, and if you want 20th c germans, the Laying that gathers) and is sometimes used in a place that would imply it's being God or the One. (heraclitus again, says, "listen not to me but to the Logos...", e.g.)

What I'm getting at, is that you may dismiss the mythologies of other cultures too easily. there's a lot of deep stuff in there. Don't take it as an insult for the stories and beliefs of your religion to be side by side with those of other peoples. It's true, ultimately you think you're right and they're wrong, but that's a matter of faith.
posted by mdn at 7:47 AM on May 3, 2002


one ought to call something what it is

And that's exactly what one is doing. What mdn said.
posted by rushmc at 7:51 AM on May 3, 2002


gd: prescribe != proscribe

Yeah, I caught that embarrassing little blunder just after I hit post. I was hoping that nobody else would notice.
posted by gd779 at 7:59 AM on May 3, 2002


Metafilter: Where People Notice.
posted by rushmc at 10:07 AM on May 3, 2002


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