Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Christians in Virginia seek to by-pass the Constitution

Over at God's news site, Bob Unruh released an article in which 6,805 Christians have sent an petition to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to allow Va State Police Chaplains to invoke the name of Jesus during public prayer. It should be noted that about 1/3 of these Christians are not Virginia residents. So, out of 7.7 million Virginians, that brings the percentage who signed this petition to just about .05%.

Here are some of the statements that accompany the petition:
  • "Since when is it OK to be prejudiced against Christians? We are good people."

  • "Sir, I will pray in Jesus' name for you and our state. Do the right thing by our State Troopers and the Chaplains."

  • "Someday we will all have to give an account before God for the things we have done while here on earth. What will you say?"

  • "Please remember the examples of other Virginians like Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Thomas Jefferson who, though different in opinions, understood the importance of religious freedom. Virginia's Declaration of Religious Freedom was one of the first government documents to codify this essential human right. … PLEASE, don't go down in history as the man who undermined Virginia's heritage and leader on this issue."

  • "I am tired of Christians being treated like second-rate citizens."

  • "Thank you Gov. Kaine for stirring up Christians like myself who otherwise become complacent in our faith. It must be a very difficult job in which you try to please everyone. Take heart Gov. Kaine there is only one that you need to please and that is GOD in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I will keep you in my prayers and hope that you will find courage to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the author of truth before all men and reinstate the State Police Chaplains acknowledging Jesus Christ."

  • "The Founding Fathers are very disappointed in Virginia."

  • "Shame on you, Gov. Kaine."

  • "This is outrageous!!"
  • "To put a limitation on prayer is an outrage! This country was founded on Christian principles and to ban certain aspects of prayer is a disgrace."
I think the first statement is my favorite; as if anyone with a different religious or worldview are not good people? And will someone please tell these people that most of the Founders weren't Christian, and that this country was founded on Greco-Roman principles?

Said petition is going to be delivered by former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt personally. Says Klingenschmitt in a series of letters to Gov. Kaine,
"Sir, as you're aware, the Virginia House just passed HR2314 by a 66-30 vote to reinstate Virginia State Trooper Chaplains' right to pray publicly according to conscience, including prayers 'in Jesus name.'"
Here's the funny part:
"You may be tempted to veto such a reasonable pro-faith bill, however, attached is a spreadsheet with the names of 6805 people (two-thirds are Virginia citizens) who signed our petition to you, asking you to reinstate your police chaplains' right to pray publicly 'in Jesus' name.' We have thousands more coming in by direct mail this month."
Personally, I'd wait until I had collected all of the signatures for the petition, as opposed to waiting for "thousands" more to arrive. I wouldn't hold my breath for those signatures, Mr. Klingenschmitt.

At Klingenschmitt's website is a link to sign the petition, as well as communications from Gov. Kaine, himself. The site states that 76% of the citizens of Virginia support a police chaplain's "right" to publicly pray in the name of Jesus. Suspecting that there is something fishy about these numbers, I decided to do more digging. I clicked on the link that supports this claim, and found a .pdf file with the results of an online poll stating that 933 out of 1,228 Virginians support the public invocation of Jesus.

1,228 people? It gets better than that.

The poll was held by hamptonroads.com on September 27, 2008. And wouldn't it just so happen that I used to live in Hampton Roads. Langley AFB to be exact. The religious fabric of Hampton Roads is comprised predominantly of evangelicals, not to mention the fact that the 700 club is in Va Beach. I should know, I went to a Baptist church when I lived there. So, according to Klingenscmitt, out of a population of 1,658,754 only about .05% of the citizens of Hampton Roads actually support this frivolous petition. See poll results below.

Mr. Klingenschmitt, you might want to buy this book and read it well. Your claims are about as bogus as creationism itself. You might also want to read the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

US Constitution: Amendment 1
Yes, you have the right to exercise free speech, and peacable assembly, and petition the Government with ridiculous grievances such as the one you're whining about. However, in the United States of America, you do not have the right to pray publicly and invoke the name of Jesus with approval from the government. Furthermore, look past your own hatred and bigotry, and realize that "liberals, atheists, and homosexuals" are human, too, and are protected by the very same Constitution that you seem to know so little about.

I want you to imagine a Wiccan giving a blessing over the Va State Police. Or a Muslim. Or a Jew, Shintoist, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Satanist, or even an atheist simply wishing good fortune. It makes you angry, doesn't it? Hopefully, now you understand why there needs to be a separation of Church and State. You can't have it both ways.

Now, I don't have a problem with chaplains invoking the name of Jesus behind closed doors (there's a joke in there somewhere), but when it crosses the Constitutional barrier of public freedom and respect, then I have a problem with it.

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