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Baptist Group Says Prayer In Jesus’ Name Unconstitutional

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Posted on July 13 2010 10:00 am
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog LisaGraas.com since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.
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Jesus versus Marx

As America experiences tough economic times and cultural breakdown, a Baptist organization is taking a strong stand against……. Christian prayer.

Attorneys for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), true soldiers of the Religious Left, have filed an amicus brief to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opposing prayer at the Forsyth County, N.C. Board of Commissioners meetings.  BJC states in the brief:

The legislative prayers delivered at Forsyth County’s Board of Commissioners’ meetings are clearly unconstitutional under Marsh and its Fourth Circuit progeny.

The record in this case indicates that Forsyth County’s twice-monthly Board meetings are open to the public, and that at those meetings, local clergy deliver an opening invocation “according to the dictates of [their] own conscience.” The prayers delivered at Board meetings during the period at issue – May 29, 2007 through December 15, 2008 – frequently contained at least one reference to Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Savoir [sic], or the Trinity and therefore were indisputably sectarian.

True to form, their compatriots at the leftist organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) are hailing BJC’s efforts to remove the mention of Jesus from the public sphere as “a new piece of evidence” that “many people of faith are among the strongest supporters of church-state separation.”

The controversy over the use of Jesus’ name in ‘legislative prayer’ has now spilled over into the North Carolina legislature as Reverend Ron Baity, a Baptist pastor from Forsyth County, was told his services were no longer needed after he defied a clerk’s request not to mention the name of Jesus in the opening prayer he delivered for the House session.

House leaders say they’ll review procedures for guest chaplains after one pastor complained that he was asked not to refer to Jesus. The Rev. Ron Baity of Berean Baptist Church in Forsyth County was invited to give the opening prayer at House sessions during the week of May 31 but was asked by a clerk to drop the reference when he provided a copy of his prayer. Baity said he was allowed to give his prayer and mention Jesus but was told later his services were no longer needed. House Speaker Joe Hackney and Minority Leader Paul Stam said in a joint statement the House has requested guest chaplains deliver nonsectarian prayers as a sign of respect to the many faiths practiced in the House and statewide.

Discover the Networks lays bare the aims of AU as follows:

Viewing the U.S. as a nation in danger of being taken over by politically conservative theocrats, AU seeks to diminish and/or eliminate conservative religious organizations’ involvement in public policy and political life. Toward this end, AU initiates policy debates, files lawsuits, and organizes protests aimed at discrediting and eliminating the presence of religious symbols and practices in public places. For example, AU has opposed the recitation of prayers at school graduation ceremonies, and has fought to remove displays of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

One would think that an ostensibly Christian organization would be working to promote the name of Jesus, or perhaps using their resources to support local efforts to encourage the practice of neighbor helping neighbor at a time when America is experiencing profound difficulties both economically and culturally.  Instead, the Religious Left is hard at work through Americans United for Separation and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty to blot the name of Jesus from every public venue in America.  From county boards to state legislatures, the name of Jesus has become anathema to the Religious Left.

Learn more about the Religious Left at Discover the Networks.

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Follow Lisa Graas on Twitter and visit her blog at LisaGraas.com

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