Rev. Donnie Lunsford, pastor of New Grace Baptist Church, and Thomasville City Councilman, Dwight Cornelison, want more Christian prayer at public meetings, and they’re all fired up, writes The Dispatch. More after the break.
They’re planning a February 3, 2007, breakfast called the “Christian involvement conference.” Cornelison said the following, I feel certain, in a Bible-thumping manner:
We’re going to dispel the rumors that Christians can’t be involved[.] . . . God ordained government, church and the family. It’s a Christian duty and obligation to participate in civil government.
Um? What rumors? I like Christians. We’re, in fact, overwhelmingly involved. Otherwise, actually, I don’t disagree with any of that. I think that’s just fine. Yet, it doesn’t justify Christian prayers in governmental meetings, during which elected representatives make decisions affecting the lives of all people of every unique faith.
Here’s their plan to make it constitutional:
Among the ways, he says, are to offer invocations before meetings are officially called to order, for council members to seek inspiration for themselves only rather than to pray on behalf of the entire city or to invite clergy on a rotating basis from a representative cross-section of the city’s faiths.
But then, one has the problem of “defining” religion. Not to mention that, inevitably, some faiths will be tossed to the curb because of some of someone’s subjective judgment that the particular faith is not public-meeting-prayer-worthy.
Cornelison surprised me by saying this:
If someone who is Muslim is elected to council, and they want to pray to Allah, I don’t have a problem with it[.]
Well, that’s a good starting point. Especially considering the Muslims (and people of various non-Christian faiths) in the country have dealt with Christian references and prayers by governmental officials for, oh, several hundred years. But why should it matter that the elected councilperson is Muslim. What if a concerned citizen is Muslim?
I wonder what Keith Ellison would say in response to this.