Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Prayer Restored To Board Meetings

This story is about victory based on conviction, unity and perseverance. There is a lesson in this for the faith community.

One of the most diverse/left leaning counties in their state voted to abolish the Christian prayer prior to each board meeting. Now it has been restored.


In 2004, two members of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners decided they were offended by the Christian prayer offered before each board meeting.

They preferred a moment of silence.

Anthony Verdugo, with the Christian Family Coalition, went to work on the issue.

He and his organization told the commission they simply wanted to restore free speech. People of faith joined in and stood with them.

He said, "We are a metropolitan area, but we also have to be an inclusive and welcoming community and we talk about being inclusive and welcoming and tolerant. That includes people of faith also because we too are part of this community. We're not isolated from it, so our free-speech rights must also be respected and upheld."

Now, eight years later, after working to convince the commission and replacing the most adversarial member, the Commission has voted 8-3 to restore a Christian prayer to the opening of each board meeting.

The take away for me was the perseverance of the people of faith. It took them 8 years to prevail.

I think too often we, in the faith community, are responsive to a crises such as redefining marriage, an attack on Pregnancy Centers, etc., but often are not willing or prepared to stay the course over an extended period of time, to actually change the culture incrementally.

If we are to bring about true cultural change, we must be in the battle for the long haul, and we must address the issues "proactively" as well as "reactively."

We must, in my opinion, invest as much of ourselves into advancing what is right and biblical in the culture as we do in opposing the continual assault on those biblical values. Both are necessary.

We must address the moral fiasco of public education. If people of faith can come together, I believe we can bring about positive change in the profile of both the state House of Representatives and the Senate. There are districts we probably can never win, but there are those in which we can---if we are united.

I believe a united voice and consistent action from people of faith can have significant influence on the state Republican Party and redirect a commitment to elect candidates who actually hold to the published planks of the Party platform.

Articulate conservatives can rise to leadership. And I believe they can win, even in Washington. Not only in more conservative areas of the state, but in some Puget Sound counties.

It begins with people holding firm, conservative, biblical values and being more committed to the values than to winning.

It also involves a general sense of unity around these values, as opposed to the strife that has plagued the faith community in the past few years.

And finally, trustworthy leadership.

The word "crossroads" is often used. If it ever applies, it would apply to where we stand today.

The state culture is not lost, but has been deeply damaged. Restoration can come. I personally believe it will, but it will likely come slowly and surely and sometimes even softly. And always with God's blessing.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.

9 comments:

  1. No, its a non-denominational prayer, and who gives it each time is chosen by the Commissioners on a rotating basis. There will probably be Muslim prayers, atheist prayers, Deist prayers. Remember it was people on the commission that asked for the prayers to be silent in the first place.

    Your every effort to force people to bend to your agenda just leaves your agenda more vulnerable and weaker. Is there any better indication that you are going about this in the wrong way?

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  2. In the link Gary provided and in other links to this same story there is no mention or hint of Muslim or atheist prayers, only rotating prayer givers. Dream on Oshtur.

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    1. Since I know you are bright enough to realize those are 'nondenominational' prayer possibilities, and you know that commissioners, the very people who asked for the silence, get to pick the speakers or give their prayer themselves, that you don't think these are very real possibilities again is looking at the world with rose colored glasses, the one that is dreaming.

      And since the prayers are non-denomination they won't be mentioning Christ (or Moses, or Mohammed for that matter) but Just God, the creator, Allah, or even man.

      It will be interesting to see - keep me posted.

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  3. Agreed Gary - the best defense is a good offense. There is a time to play defense, like in the case of the redefining of marriage, but to play defense only is to be resolved to merely losing more slowly. We need to be on permanent offense, perpetually advancing Biblical and Constitutional views and values without compromise, in season and out, and we need to be committed to doing it for the long haul, over a generation or more if needed. "Be not weary in well doing, in due season we will reap if we do not faint," but only if we do not faint.

    Bob Peck - Spokane Valley, WA

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  4. If one of the board members is a Mormon then you would listening to a prayer from a non Christian cult member .
    Do you really what that?


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    1. Dear Ralphineverett- it is unfortunate that you would divide the community of Christians by eliminating members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have shared values. As a Mormon, I support the author of this article who believes that unity of the faithful will be the best way to be successful in promoting principles of faith and freedom.
      Robynn on Camano Island

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    2. One religion calling another a cult. That's rich.

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    3. Does it matter? It doesn't "hurt" me or affect my faith if I hear someone from another religion or faith pray. If I disagree with anything they say, or think they are praying to a different god, I simply do not say "Amen".

      Faith is based on evidence, it is being persuaded by what is credible. A juror reaches a descision based on witness testimony and the evidence presented, despite that he was not at the scene of the crime. A man in a landlocked province can be persuaded that the ocean exists based off the testimony of traveling merchants and natural principals such as lakes and weather. Likewise, a juror can easily reject a claim if the evidence does not support it. {In matters of religion, for example, the textual critisism of a manuscript is very important, as well as archeology, etc. In both these arenas (and many others) the Bible has full support - the highest rated manuscript of antiquity as far as number of copies and accuracy of preservation {The NT alone is 25,000 manuscripts, the earliest we have dating within 40-60 years of writing, with only 40 disputed lines of text. The next closest ancient document is the Illiad, with 674 manuscripts, 764 disputed lines of text - and none of the 'ancient historical' texts (Gallic Wars, Annals, Natural History, Thucydides or Heredotus's History, etc) have over 10 manuscript copies - and the earliest copies we have all date 750-1300 years after they were written!) - there aren't even any original Shakespeare manuscripts left, some of the lines have had to be made up by scholars!}, and well supported by archeology, even areas that were once thought to be 'contradictions' in the Bible turned out to be great supports for Biblical accuracy in the details once archeological digs uncovered varying calendars and accounting systems in different regions!.}

      When one has derived any belief from credible sources, such that the body is made of cells or covered in bacteria, or that the moon is indeed not made out of cheese, those beliefs are not easily shaken. Only even more credible evidence (perhaps a cheese meteor falling into your front lawn followed by a moon alien telling you that all the scientists have lied to you your whole life, and the moon really is swiss cheese) could hope to sway you.

      If your beliefs are so fragile that someone else merely "talking" about their beliefs, or offering a prayer, can sway your own or make you feel uncomfortable, then you should reavaluate you descision making paradimn and really take a hard look at how you are lookign for answers. Are you a person that searches carefully no matter where something leads, spiritual or scientific, or do you just look for other people who have 'claimed to debunk' x, feel superior in your knowledge that 'x must be wrong', and then take the 'socially accepted' answer? Do you question, no matter where it leads - or do you jump back in the box if the answer isn't what you want to find?

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  5. "Non-Denominational" doesn't mean "no mention of Jesus". It means not "tailored to a specific denomination" (ie catholic/baptist/anglican/etc). {Although many people, abandoning common sense, take it to *mean* no mention of Jesus, as if Christianity was a 'denomination' or mentioning Jesus was 'forcing your faith' on someone}

    Rotating religious leaders (who themselves can be of any denomination) are going to give the prayers.

    A catholic minister giving a non-denominational invocation would give a very different prayer than in his own parish: he wouldn't give a latin prayer, expect the audience to respond, or speak of transubstantiation.

    However, should he choose to speak of the Father, Jesus, the general blessings of God and of Providence, etc, these are subjects that cross all denominations.

    {And to say they don't meet denominations of other *religions* is a non-argument. Mentioning God at all counters athiesm, polythiesm, panthiesm, and countless fringe denominations of a hundred different *faiths*}

    Christians of many denominations giving non-demoninational prayers (even denominational ones) has great historic precedent. Benjamin Franklin called for prayer at the continental congress (and he was a diest) - the congress continued this tradition, and even held Bible studies studying scripture during some sessions.

    Furthermore, many government buildings (The Treasury, Capitol, etc) were used as government funded churches, where religious speakers of varying denominations (of Christianity) were invited on a rotating basis to speak, and the military band was even the worship team at one. They were not 'forbidden to mention Jesus'.
    Again, Jesus is not a 'denominational' issue. He is a foundational issue to the Christian faith, upon which all Christian denominations agree. {Christian means 'Christ follower'}.

    {For a supreme court case that details many other cases of religion in america's history, read "Church of the Holy Trinity vs. the United States"}

    Should a council member offering prayer wish to speak on another religion, their free speech should allow them to do so. Or, should to council vote as a whole to allow other faiths into the rotating database of speakers, then that also should be allowed.

    But a non-denominational prayer is a non-existent thing. Every prayer, even "God bless you", puts forth the claim that some many denominations and faiths are incorrect.

    It's time, instead, for people to realize that "free speech" is protection for the one *giving the speech*, so that they may freely act on their own religion or ideas, it is *not* protection for the person hearing who might feel "offended" by the other person's contrary faith.

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