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Jewish lawmakers threaten walk-out over reference to Jesus ^ | April 3, 2003 | Diana Lynne

Posted on 04/03/2003 6:25:58 PM PST by honway

A Maryland minister was barred from giving the opening prayer in the state Senate after he refused to drop a reference to Jesus.

The Rev. David N. Hughes of the Trinity and Evangelical Church of Adamstown, Md., intended to round out his invocation yesterday with the line, "In Jesus' name, Amen." But the sergeant at arms – on the orders of Senate President Thomas Mike Miller Jr. – shut the reverend out of the body's chambers.

Miller issued the orders after two Jewish lawmakers threatened to stage a boycott of the legislative session if the phrase was not removed.

"I'm shocked by the response. I've never had this happen in 26 years," Hughes told the Frederick News-Post. "It just makes me feel that they've taken away my right as an American to pray, and this is the seat of government, and that's scary."

The pastor – a Vietnam veteran – was invited to give the prayer by Republican Sen. Alex Mooney. Hughes was Mooney's fourth guest. The other three were Jewish rabbis.

Opening up legislative sessions with prayer is a longstanding tradition in Maryland, as it is in states across the country. Mooney told WorldNetDaily no one had been barred from giving an invocation before. He sees irony in yesterday's "censorship."

Maryland state Republican Rep. Alex Mooney

"We were the first state to address religious tolerance in our state charter," he told WorldNetDaily. "This just shows a lack of tolerance for peoples' religious views."

Mooney recalled numerous instances of invocations referencing Jesus throughout the four years that he has been in office.

But at the beginning of the session this year, a string of invocations by Baptist preachers invoking the name Jesus Christ sparked debate on the issue. Miller appealed to lawmakers for tolerance and urged they stick to guidelines that call for invocations to be of an ecumenical nature and respectful of all faiths.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines ecumenical as "promoting cooperation or better understanding among differing religious faiths."

Since the debate, the Senate clerk screens prayers ahead of time and flagged the written text submitted by Hughes.

When Sens. Ida Ruben and Gloria Hollinger – both of whom are Jewish – heard of the reference, they asked Mooney to strike it.

"I said, 'Hey, I'll let him pray however he wants to pray. I'm not going to censor him and tell him how he needs to pray,'" Mooney told WND.

Ruben told the Frederick News-Post she then urged Hughes to substitute "messiah" for Jesus, telling him the reference could offend non-Christians and goes against the guidelines.

Neither Ruben nor Miller returned calls seeking comment.

"This is part of my faith," Hughes responded, according to Mooney. "The Gospel says when you pray, pray in Jesus' name."

The senators next asked to be excused from the floor during the prayer.

Paradoxically, a walk-out over a Muslim cleric's prayer opening a Washington state legislative session last month backfired on one Christian lawmaker.

Washington state Republican Rep. Lois McMahan

As WorldNetDaily reported, Rep. Lois McMahan, a Republican from Gig Harbor, Wash., refused to participate in the prayer and declared, "My god is not Muhammed."

"The Islamic religion is so ... part and parcel with the attack on America. I just didn't want to be there, be a part of that," she said in an interview with the Seattle Post Intelligencer. "Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America."

But a day later, McMahan apologized on the floor of the state House of Representatives amid mounting furor over her stance.

Debate over invocations is raging elsewhere in the country. As WorldNetDaily reported, several Southern California cities are grappling with threats from both sides of the issue.

Under pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union to quit using the name Jesus Christ in invocations, the city of Lake Elsinore, in Riverside County, decided to eliminate mention of "religious figures." The decree subsequently had the apparent effect of eliminating the prayer altogether, as no local pastors would accept invitations to deliver the prayer, and city councilors adopted moments of silence instead.

The ACLU contends that praying at the request of a government entity is a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition against the establishment of religion.

But the nonprofit United States Justice Foundation, which threatened to sue the city if it failed to reverse its decision, maintains telling a pastor what to pray is a violation of his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion.

The notion of "separation of church and state" is derived from the dissenting opinion of the 1946 Supreme Court case Everson vs. Board of Education, which upheld a program allowing parents to be repaid from state funds for the costs of transportation to private religious schools. The court required only that the state maintain neutrality in its relations with various groups of religious believers.

"The decision in Everson does not rise to the level of being a battle cry for those who would wish to remove every vestige of religion from the public forum," USJF litigation counsel Richard Ackerman asserts.

"There's a push in this country to remove religion from society," Mooney echoed, "from the Supreme Court's decision on the Pledge to the ACLU going after all the Ten Commandments posted across the country. ... Nothing in the church-state relationship allows censorship and the removal of religious values from society."

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; christians; ecumenical; hypocrites; jews; liberals; maryland; silliness; watereddown
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To: yonif
I don't agree.
841 posted on 04/05/2003 11:21:43 AM PST by Mark17
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To: Illbay
Those who are so insecure in their own beliefs, that they cannot abide the notion that others may believe differently, ought not venture out of doors.

Seems to me you're describing the folks who wouldn't let this preacher give his prayer, because he "believes differently." They're the bigots. You wouldn't find me trying to silence a Buddist who was giving an invocation - - because I'm tolerant and I'm not insecure in my beliefs. that can't be said, it seems, of the anti-Christian legislators who silenced the preacher. Go on apologizing for them. In every age, bigotry has its apologists.

842 posted on 04/05/2003 11:35:12 AM PST by laureldrive
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To: TopQuark
Thanks for the spirited debate. It is much more fun when it is done in reason. And thanks for the thoughtful responses. Like I was saying my only problem was I think people were drifting away from the actual meaning of prayer and why one actually prays to Almighty God. I hope you had a happy Passover and enjoy the holiday yourself. Because in both cases Death passed over those that revered the Lord.
843 posted on 04/05/2003 11:40:28 AM PST by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: so_real
"...he was invited to represent his own."

We agree again. I don't see why we need to be so thin-skinned. The minister meant to bless the proceedings, and he did so in his way. As if mentioning the name of Jesus would be a bad thing!

In the same spirit, I would hope this gentleman would support clerics from other religions in America invoking their names of God in their prayers. Unfortunately, I doubt he would.

844 posted on 04/05/2003 11:51:28 AM PST by SupplySider
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To: Captain Beyond
Thank you and G-d bless you and yours.
845 posted on 04/05/2003 11:55:12 AM PST by TopQuark
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To: TopQuark
}You don't even practice civility, let alone Christianity.

Much as you would like, you don't control the definitions. Any of them.

846 posted on 04/05/2003 11:58:45 AM PST by DensaMensa (He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the definitions controls the past.)
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To: Revelation 911
do the other religions deny the divinity of Christ?....yup

Buddhism and Hinduism predate Christianity, so their founders and scriptures do not speak explicitly of Jesus Christ.

Hindus, however, consider all men to be partial incarnations of divinity, and some, such as Rama and Krishna, to be all divine. I have met Hindus, and many considered Jesus to be a 100% divine incarnation of God. I have seen the picture of Christ on their alters.

Buddhists likewise consider all beings sacred, and sometimes equate Nirvana to Christ consciousness. They try to incorporate all good things into their framework.

I can't speak for Muslims, but I think there is a common ground in man's great religions: they all worship one almighty God.

847 posted on 04/05/2003 12:28:47 PM PST by SupplySider
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To: Captain Beyond
Why not have everybody rub a rabbit foot for luck.

I think this was my favorite line of the whole thread.

Thanks for the chuckle.

848 posted on 04/05/2003 12:44:27 PM PST by katnip
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To: Captain Beyond
"If it is nondenominational then who are they praying to? "

"And what is the point if they are praying to some ambiguous god?"

Sorry, I thought those were your words. I did only read a part of this thread. I tend to be defensive when I see intolerant people.

849 posted on 04/05/2003 1:59:05 PM PST by NeilSmith
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To: k2blader
Well, sure. As C.S. Lewis said (paraphrased from my faulty memory), "To claim what he claimed about himself, Jesus was either insane, on the level of someone who believes himself to be a poached egg, a devil from Hell, or G-d before whom we must bow. He didn't leave us any other choice."

Hi. Here's the actual quote in all its glory from Mere Christianity:
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either he was and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

850 posted on 04/05/2003 2:33:30 PM PST by aruanan
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To: NeilSmith
See post# 819. We are talking about the intent of prayer. If one is praying then it is his belief that dictates whom one is praying to. Hopefully this will get you passed your defensive intolerance.
851 posted on 04/05/2003 2:52:06 PM PST by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: way2go
Thank you. I appreciate your views. It is my prayer that evangelical Chistianity in particular will help to save this country.

Somewhat more Judaically oriented myself however, I recently posted Some Problems With Christ As The Messiah. Please be as critical as you might in any response.

I believe ultimately in Ethical Monotheism as ancient to modern all-inclusiveness.

852 posted on 04/05/2003 3:35:23 PM PST by onedoug
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To: lsee
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Above is true lsee because it is only through Jesus that we are even worthy of any redemption.
853 posted on 04/05/2003 3:39:07 PM PST by ProudAmerican13
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To: honway
I heard about that.
854 posted on 04/05/2003 3:50:11 PM PST by sauropod (I'm a man... But I can change... If I have to.... I guess...................)
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To: honway
Maybe they should threaten to move to some foreign country, like France?
855 posted on 04/05/2003 3:53:35 PM PST by DoctorMichael (Liberalism = Evil)
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To: Captain Beyond; TopQuark
Indeed TQ's answers have been thoughtful!
856 posted on 04/05/2003 3:57:20 PM PST by sauropod (I'm a man... But I can change... If I have to.... I guess...................)
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To: sauropod
How can you not love someone who has quark, strangeness, and charm.8-) His posts have been very thoughtful indeed.
857 posted on 04/05/2003 4:05:30 PM PST by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Illbay
You say this guy is seeking to offend. He is not. He is simply praying to his Lord Jesus Christ. If people are offended then they should get over it.
858 posted on 04/05/2003 4:27:25 PM PST by Michael2001
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To: aruanan
You must make your choice. Either he was and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.

Thanks for that quote.I have never understood the irrational response many exhibit at the mention of Jesus Christ in public forums outside of a church. The quote helps explain it.

859 posted on 04/05/2003 4:28:14 PM PST by honway
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To: honway
Sure! That quote's pretty stinking succinct. Have you read either Mere Christianity or Miracles?
860 posted on 04/05/2003 4:44:56 PM PST by aruanan
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