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Jul 12, 2007


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Someone should look into what people have been teaching in those so-called Christian schools all these years.

Joe Killian

Sounds to me like they've got that First Commandment down all right...


That guy is an apologist for terrorists. Dominionism is a terrorist friendly ideology. Pure and simple.

Jeffrey Sykes

Damn those Christians for protesting something they feel strongly about. What gives them the right? Weren't they responsible for the Inquisition and all that?

Joe Killian

I'm not sure the problem is with protesting something they feel strongly about -- it's with disrupting functions, calling people of other religions who have been invited to those functions (and the religions themselves) wicked and behaving in a way that is ideologically indistinguishable from what our government now likes to call "Islamofascism" -- the same distaste (and in this case complete intolerance) for pluralism in a society famous for it.


More Benham:

"Now, why are Hindus allowed here? Why are Muslims allowed here? Because we are a nation that's free, built upon the principles of almighty God."

Wrong. As Joe pointed out above, the hecklers' behavior was 100% First Commandment, but it was 0% First Amendment. Hindus and Muslims are allowed here because of the First Amendment and our secular Constitution, not because of any religious principles. This whole incident illustrates that quite well.


As an aside, we may get an up close and personal look at this sort of behavior if some members of the High Point city council aren't careful.

Jeffrey Sykes

Did y'all know that defacto child slavery is still practiced in India, by Hindus, and that Christians collect money each week in America to send to India to buy their freedom, give them an education and send them on their merry way at age 18?

I'm sure y'all've heard that they have a lot of starvation in India, but they let cows roam the streets and won't eat them.

Remind me why was this guy praying in the US Senate chamber? Was he praying to Shiva, Vishnu, or one of the other myriad devas and avatars?

Tvat tvam asi

Ed Cone

"Remind me why was this guy praying in the US Senate chamber?"

Because he was an American, representing a faith practiced by about 1.5 million Americans and also representing the ideal that all faiths may be practiced here freely?

I'm not sure anyone should be leading a prayer in the US Senate. But as long as sessions begin with an invocation, that prayer cannot belong to one denomination or faith.

Jeffrey Sykes

So throughout our nation's history, we've prayed to this "God" commonly known as Jehova, asked him to guide and protect our decisions and efforts at home and abroad, and know we let any willy nilly deist saunter in and put their idols on the same plane as the one true God, Jehova Jireh?

Did Patton ask Shiva or Vishnu to clear the weather over Bastogne so he could save the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge?

I think not.

I don't think freedom of religion was intended to mean any animist or polytheistic bhagwan can come into the seat of power and raise up his beliefs.

I think it meant he could practice it at home without fear of reprisal, but if I was YHWH I might be thinking about raising up the Babylonians and taking some mo fo's into bondage right about now. Just sayin'.

Joe Killian


Surely you're not going to argue that the worst practices of some members of religious sects (and things you think are silly, like not eating cows) should define the entire religion for us.

The shooting of doctors who perform abortions, lynchings of homosexuals, the KKK and death threats against artists who offend their sensibilities doesn't define Christianity for me. But even if I did feel they were all I needed to know about a religion I hadn't actually studied I wouldn't feel it my right (or duty) to disrupt Christian prayers in places they'd been invited to tell them they were going to Hell unless they turned to my God.


Did y'all know that defacto child slavery is still practiced in India

I know how hard it is to remember that not all Americans are Caucasian, but Rajan Zed is from Reno, Nevada.

Jeffrey Sykes


I hope your not saying I haven't studied the Hindu religion, because you would disregarding the fact that I've studied religion most of my life. More specifically, I spent a great deal of my early 20s, with a Muslim from east India, a Buddhist from Nepal and a Hindu from Sri Lanka. They were all three great fellas and taught me a lot about that part of the world. There's a lot about me I don't wear on my sleeve, unlike others who constantly remind people of their occupation and sexual interests.

I'm not so much supporting what the protesters did, as protesting the first three comments in this thread.

Sven: I'm not sure of your point. I'm a quarter Hispanic myself, despite being 75 percent Anglo-Saxon, God be praised. Are you implying that Hinduism and the sub-continent of India are not inseperable?


Are you implying that Hinduism and the sub-continent of India are not inseperable?

Is the Pope Catholic?

John Burns


You spent that much time and learned absolutely nothing. Sad, really.

Your comments on this thread embarrass me as a Christian.


Jeffrey Sykes


Glad I could help you.



Suppose we agree to deny the "willy nilly deist," can you provide a list of the religions you would find acceptable?


Actually, Hindus are theistic, not deistic. Now, some of those sketchy Founding Fathers, like Jefferson and Franklin - there were some Deists for you. Guess we should make sure people like them don't get to do any governmental invocations, eh?

Jeffrey Sykes


I probably agree with Ed that the invocation should not take place at all. Tradition in America holds that we have prayed to the God of Israel, known as Yaweh. I'm just having fun with the generic "let's make fun of Christians" responses that flowed from Ed's tired "Jesus and abominations and such". Obviously the protesters believed firmly it was their duty to speak up and be heard.

I'm more of an agnostic absurdist than anything, and it's quite hard to hold the mind at bay on such easy targets sometimes.

Jehovah is the one true God or he's an idol like Shiva and Vishnu and none of it matters and I could come back as a maggot after I die. Or I'm about to cycle out into the spirit world. Who knows.

I'd rather side with Jehovah and his army of hosts than Vishnu and Arjuna if I was caught in a battle riding on the clouds.

The best thing I've gotten out of this thread is I realized protesters is spelled with an "-ers" and not an "-ors".

Jeffrey Sykes


From Wikipedia:

The words Deism and theism are both derived from the word god:

* The root of the word Deism is the Latin word deus, which means "god".
* The root of the word theism is the Greek word theos (θεóς), which also means "god".

I know what a Deist is. I used a little "d" for a reason. But a "th" would have been more accurate.


Ed Cone

"...Ed's tired 'Jesus and abominations and such'." That's straight reporting, not "tired" anything, it's what they shouted as they disrupted the invocation given by a fellow American who was invited to open the session.

Your personal beliefs are not really the issue, Jeff, nor are the beliefs of the noisemakers. We either live in a country where freedom of religion and freedom of speech apply to all, or we don't.

Jeffrey Sykes


"about Jesus and such" does not constitute straight reporting. Quoting exactly what they shouted is straight reporting. To me, "..and such" borders on your personal opinion that "..and such" is worthy of scorn and derision, thus leading the to troika at the beginning of the thread.

Al least that's my perspective from about three years of reading your blog.

And isn't this whole discussion about personal belief? Personal belief divides us, amplifies our divisions at election time, and now exacerbates our discussions in between elections and clouds everything from elementary school curriculum to Supreme Court nominees.

I will always stand for freedom above religion, but the traditionalist in me wonders if the spilled blood of patriots past really happened so a Hindu could invoke Vishnu and Shiva in blessing a session of Congress. Would they cringe, or would they applaud? I'm open for perspective. Is it our freedom to give away, or do we owe a debt of honor to what they thought they were sacrificing for?


Hoo boy, the ironies abound. From the description of the Thomas Nast cartoon I linked to above:

Nast's inspiration for transforming the miters of the Catholic bishops into the jaws of crocodiles was a small cartoon by John Leech in the English publication, Punch. Nast expanded Leech's single Irish cleric into an invading horde of crocodile-priests, and added the panoply of images related to American public schools, politics, and the Catholic Church.

When in 1871 he selected the Ganges River in India, considered holy by Hindus, Nast may have remembered an article in Harper's Weekly from 1867 about the worship of crocodiles in India. Whether or not that was the case, the cartoonist would have realized that most of his American audience would associate the Ganges with religious superstition, which was one of the messages about the Catholic Church he wished to convey.

Ed Cone

Jeff, if you've been reading my blog for three years and think my views in this area are about "scorn and derision" for people of faith, as opposed to keeping one faith (or subdivision thereof) from imposing itself above all others in the public square, then you are not a very careful reader.

These folks weren't just shouting their beliefs, they were shouting down a fellow citizen who had been invited to speak before a public body. The former is not worthy of derision, the latter is. You seem to have some trouble separating the two.


Not to mention that the "scorn and derision" complaint is coming from someone who just issued a blood libel against a person of faith.

Jeffrey Sykes

I thought we were exercising freedom of speech?

Ed Cone

Freedom of speech doesn't preclude criticism and analysis of said speech. Nobody has challenged your right to speak, just your logic, facts, and understanding of basic Constitutional principles.

Joe Killian

I like to think Americans who died for their country did so for something a little larger, more complex and interesting than the thought that none but a Christian would ever pray before a public body in their country.

When we recognize that the country isn't composed entirely of Christians, and that those people deserve to be represented (particularly when a government body invites them) -- I don't think that constitutes spitting on their graves.

I am wholly in the "why the hell are we praying in this place and time at all?" camp...but the idea that it's more just to pray to one God than another in this situation doesn't really appeal to me.

Jeffrey Sykes

Jesus Christ, Yaweh and Vishnu, Ed, what "basic Constitutional principles" don't I understand? The only thing you've challenged is your interpretation of facts and logic versus mine.

Jeffrey Sykes


Thanks for the reply to my question. I can agree with your perspective.

Jeffrey Sykes

Training Letter No.

"Chaplains of the Third Army,

"At this stage of the operations I would call upon the chaplains and the men of the Third United States Army to focus their attention on the importance of prayer.

"Our glorious march from the Normandy Beach across France to where we stand, before and beyond the Siegfried Line, with the wreckage of the German Army behind us should convince the most skeptical soldier that God has ridden with our banner. Pestilence and famine have not touched us. We have continued in unity of purpose. We have had no quitters; and our leadership has been masterful. The Third Army has no roster of Retreats. None of Defeats. We have no memory of a lost battle to hand on to our children from this great campaign.

"But we are not stopping at the Siegfried Line. Tough days may be ahead of us before we eat our rations in the Chancellery of the Deutsches Reich.

"As chaplains it is our business to pray. We preach its importance. We urge its practice. But the time is now to intensify our faith in prayer, not alone with ourselves, but with every believing man, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or Christian in the ranks of the Third United States Army.

"Those who pray do more for the world than those who fight; and if the world goes from bad to worse, it is because there are more battles than prayers. 'Hands lifted up,' said Bosuet, 'smash more battalions than hands that strike.' Gideon of Bible fame was least in his father's house. He came from Israel's smallest tribe. But he was a mighty man of valor. His strength lay not in his military might, but in his recognition of God's proper claims upon his life. He reduced his Army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred men lest the people of Israel would think that their valor had saved them. We have no intention to reduce our vast striking force. But we must urge, instruct, and indoctrinate every fighting man to pray as well as fight. In Gideon's day, and in our own, spiritually alert minorities carry the burdens and bring the victories.

"Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere. Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose good is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace.

"We must march together, all out for God. The soldier who 'cracks up' does not need sympathy or comfort as much as he needs strength. We are not trying to make the best of these days. It is our job to make the most of them. Now is not the time to follow God from 'afar off.' This Army needs the assurance and the faith that God is with us. With prayer, we cannot fail.

"Be assured that this message on prayer has the approval, the encouragement, and the enthusiastic support of the Third United States Army Commander.

"With every good wish to each of you for a very Happy Christmas, and my personal congratulations for your splendid and courageous work since landing on the beach, I am," etc., etc.,

General George Patton
Third Army Commander

Ed Cone

"...what 'basic Constitutional principles' don't I understand?"

The part where they apply equally to all people, including non-Christians.

Jeffrey Sykes

Nowhere in this thread have I said that anyone lacks the right to practice the religion, or lack thereof, of their choosing without fear of reprisal. And actually, I did say that I would stand for freedom over religion.

I cede this thread to the blog's owner.

Ed Cone

What you did say: "Remind me why was this guy praying in the US Senate chamber? Was he praying to Shiva, Vishnu, or one of the other myriad devas and avatars?"

And: "[N]ow we let any willy nilly deist saunter in and put their idols on the same plane as the one true God...I don't think freedom of religion was intended to mean any animist or polytheistic bhagwan can come into the seat of power and raise up his beliefs."

And so on. You concede his right to practice his religion, but not his right to speak it publicly in a manner allowed to adherents of other religions.

It is your argument for an unequal application of freedom, along with the behavior of our fellow North Carolinians in the gallery, that I decry.


The connection between American culture and Judeo-Christian tradition is obvious. The connection between that tradition and the Constitution is nonexistent.

The Constitution establishes a secular government because the people who wrote it understood that a government based on religion cannot be free or democratic. In such a framework -- as in any government rooted in ideology -- power, inevitably, will be concentrated among those who hold to the established faith. All the rest will be powerless and unfree. This is exactly the scenario the founders sought to avoid, even if a majority desired the supremacy of their faith.

Those who make the false claim that this country was created on Christian principles by Christians to serve Christians, and that it needs to return to those roots, are either woefully ill-informed about our hisotry, or are deliberately advocating overthrowing the Constitution.

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