Home > Society, Theology > the tradition of praying in the house…the u.s. government, that is

the tradition of praying in the house…the u.s. government, that is

Saturday, 7 April 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

I have been receiving emails regarding what some are calling an “interesting prayer” given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. From the emails, there is this recurrent sentence: “It seems prayer still upsets some people.” Largely, I am not a proponent of any sort of dogmatic or monolithic prayer as part of this government. I would be in favor of the plurality of a prayer service or a simple moment for meditation. But, it seems that prayer, in whatever form it takes, is a hallmarked piece of tradition. This tradition is part of the US government as well as the Provincial Parliament of Ontario–prayer oozes and becomes a reality in these places.

So, back to Kansas…where all good things happen…When “Minister” Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what
they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, “The Rest of the Story,” and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

So as to not confuse my more agnostic or atheist readers, I should note that my entry here is not an entry of supporting this prayer [neither its content nor its telos].  In fact, this is not a prayer I would pray, personally. Theologically, I find problems with it.  But, the recitation of such a prayer, containing or exhibiting the spirit of calling out social inequities is important. Certainly, this is an area where the Christian Church [among other religions] have not be so ready to do! I’m not at all a fan of civil religion; but, its what we have here in the States….

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Categories: Society, Theology
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