Friday, April 27, 2012

50th anniversary of Supreme Court decision against prayer in school

In 1962 in a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and to then promote its recitation in public schools, even if the promotion is not coercive.

The voluntary prayer in question at the time read:
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.
The ruling, through the eyes of many Christians, is unreasonable and even nonsensical.  Will the National Day of Prayer fall prey to the same mindset that banned prayer from school and then become the next religious observance deemed unconstitutional?

National Day of Prayer
The National Day of Prayer (36 U.S.C.§119) is an annual observance designated by Congress to be held on the first Thursday of May. It is a time when people "may turn to God in prayer and meditation."

Each year, in honor of the National Day of Prayer, the President signs an official Proclamation. Although this formality was first acknowledged in 1952, in actuality the observance has been a part of our history since its mandate by George Washington.

The Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending "a day of publick humiliation, fasting, and prayer" be observed on July 20, 1775,

"The Honorable the Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart Thursday the 6th of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate [to pray or intreat that a present evil may be removed] deserved punishment for our Sins and Ingratitiude, to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally: The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbidding all recreations and unnecessary labor.” —George Washington, First President of the United States. Source. See also the Library of Congress.

National Day of Prayer 2012
As 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Engel v. Vitale (no prayer in public schools), efforts against the National Day of Prayer will likely be stepped up.

Groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) or American Atheists (AA) will once again take sides to say, in effect, that the Federal proclamation first signed by George Washington shows he, either out of disrespect or out of ignorance, was flagrantly violating the establishment clause (in bold below) to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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.
They (FFRF, AA) will say that since the clause prohibits the establishment of state-endorsed religion and that there can be no preference shown for one religion over another, then the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional because it is a religious endorsement.

The National Day of Prayer proclamation doesn't endorse a particular religion so evidently the FFRF objects to its acknowledgement of any religion at all.  In other words, atheistic groups such as the FFRF would like America to simply be "one nation under atheism."

According to Greg Magarian, Professor of Law at Washington University Law, there is no truly authoritative resolution to the question of policies favoring religion over non-religion and vice versa,

“..... the court tends to grow more concerned about official policies that favor religion when the policies entail some kind of actual observance. Official recognition of a National Day of Prayer, without more, doesn’t make anyone do anything.”
Magarian further explains that if a public school required students to pray in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer, then that would be a violation to the establishment clause. He clarified,

“But arguably official recognition of the day, without more, simply amounts to the sort of ‘ceremonial deism’ that the court has long tolerated, for example, in allowing the words ‘In God We Trust’ to appear on money."  
Even though arguments will likely come forth suggesting that official acknowledgement of religious practices treats non-believers as second-class citizens, Magarian is one attorney who opines that the current court would reject an establishment clause challenge to the National Day of Prayer.

Prayer for Peace Among Nations
O Almighty God,
the Father of all humanity,
turn, we pray, the hearts of all peoples and their rulers,
that by the power of your Holy Spirit
peace may be established among the nations
on the foundation of justice, righteousness and truth;
through him who was lifted up on the cross
to draw all people to himself,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--- William Temple (1881-1944)

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer."
Pastor Arthur Tappan Pierson

Original article, click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Too good not to share

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the law...yer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):
"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows,
(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application.
I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella

 The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our loan?"
The loan was immediately approved.
From a post by Roger Pol
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." 
 John 1:3
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Hebrews 11:3
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
Romans 1:20
Children's Bible Study, Creation: Click here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

by Kara L. Kraemer

The dawn's sun sparkled on that day of days
Smiling a secret as it sent its first rays.
Lilies of white swayed to pleasant chants very rare
As harmonizing angels sweetly blest the air.

One angel of lightening bright visible to see,
Told that Jesus had already gone to Galilee.
Stunned and afraid to believe, the women were amazed
That Jesus could utterly walk away from His grave.
Long ago was a sign served within God's plan of harmony
When Jonah illustrated Jesus in the dark days of three.
The day had come when the sign became understood as prescribed.
Adam brought death, while Jesus its antidote is alive!

Peter and John saw linens left in the tomb;
Hope in their souls replaced previous gloom.
Witnesses to the miracle, then they were given
The power of courage on high straight from heaven
About repentance and forgiveness they went out to proclaim
Throughout the east, west, north, and south the glory of His name,
That He alone is the way and the key to salvation
And remembered above all during Easter's celebration.

Poems, MD: Resurrected, Click here.
Video, Did it really happen? Click here.
Eggs are a celebration of new life, Click here.
Easter hunt photo, Click here.
Eggs Benedict, Click here.
Finest Easter Classics, Click here.
Snoopy, Happy Easter, Click here.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

by Kara L. Kraemer
A dreary night, a fateful night, cold winds were mourning.
Torches held, lanterns waved, weapons flashed their warning.
Soldiers guided to the man they had been seeking.
Trembling trees, ill at ease, roots and branches creaking,
Swaying hard, whimpering low, trying to trill free.
What cup is this? Something's wrong! This cannot be!

Rocks on the hillside, deep inside rumbled murmurs unheard,
Waiting to whirl around, crash the ground, for the Master's one word.
Dismal was the air, thick with dark despair, Dread was busy with its weaving.
Disciples in dismay, mental disarray, Jesus was leaving.
Bound in chains, dragged away, quiet as a lamb.
Long harbored in palest light, the nightmare began.

The Temple held Him captive by abusers with accusations stern
Who mocked Him, then struck Him for the Truth they wouldn't learn.
Grueling on, well past the dawn, 'til Passover's bell in heaven sings--
King of kings, Lamb of lambs, to be the sacrifice God brings.
All conscious life relates this time when authority He forgo,
As was His plan before the world began so very long ago.

Hardened men flogged Him, pushed thorns in around His head.
Men shouted, "Crucify!" not knowing why, they wanted Him dead.
Angels hovered up above watching frantically should He call.
The One adored as their Lord might refrain His death to befall.
The plight of mankind on His mind, Abba's spirit permeating,
Weak and wobbling, stumbled He with the cross to Golgotha awaiting.

Officials grabbed Son of Man, pounded feet and hands upon the wood with nails,
Raised the cross with Him embossed as the crowd continued with their gales.
"Say, King! Save Yourself," jeered the wild and cheer-mongering squad.
"Come down from that cross if You truly are the Son of God!"
Smug centurions cast lots for His garments, acting cocksure, not afraid.
Too aware of the man betrayed whom they couldn't break or persuade.

Bones in agony, soul in anguish, sneers heard through the haze,
"You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days!"
A repentant man with weary heart turned to Jesus, humbly grieved,
"Remember me in Your kingdom," for on that hour in Jesus he believed.
Without reason, in that season, the sun bestowed its duty at a loss.
Jesus became iniquity for us as though then a serpent on a cross.

The earth darkened, angels disappeared, Jesus endured all as foretold.
On the cross He stayed, to His God He prayed, as penalty was doled.
The sky remained silent. God turned away, the Son so alone and forsaken.
"It is finished." Into God's hands He gave up His spirit to be taken.
Rocks were loosed in wild free fall while the earth shook and rolled.
Centurions were terrified as they watched another dimension unfold.

The proof of Christ evermore of that day haunts the souls of men in denial--
Could this man truly be "I AM HE," the Son sent for man with God to reconcile. 

"Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise.'"
Luke 23:42-43
 A Sermon Concerning Meditation on the Holy Sufferings of Christ 
by Martin Luther, click here.

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