Friday, March 08, 2013

Jesus Christ Banned From Longview City Council Meetings

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Mayor Don Jensen has announced that ministers should now refrain from invoking Jesus Christ in invocations at Longview, Washington city council meetings.

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Christian ministers have been opening the Longview City Council meetings with an invocation since the late 1950's.

This has been a city tradition since its founding. City founder, R.A. Long, delivered the invocation at the first city council meeting in 1924. In the late 1950's, the invocation became a regular part of the meetings.

Mayor Jensen told the public, "It's not my choice to stop this."

Pastor Mark Schmutz of Northlake Baptist Church and president of the local ministerial association expressed sadness and disappointment over the decision.

He said if the pastors can't speak the name of Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation.

"They're asking us not to do what we're called to do," he said.

He explained that he and the pastors believe "there are other spiritual entities---such as demons and other gods cited in the Bible---the minister's prayers are specific about whom they call upon."

So what brought about this change?

A complaint was lodged by one man.

Dan L. Smith, who describes himself as a "very comfortable atheist," says, "people of other faiths or no faith shouldn't have to endure a Christian prayer at a government meeting."

In an email to the city he asked that they "remove...the invocation from the council's agenda and that you sever any council ties with the (ministerial association's) responsibilities for the delivery of an invocation."

He said he didn't want to sue the city, but if he did, he "would undoubtedly win."

He said of the 20 Washington cities he has researched, only 3 still begin their council meetings with a prayer---Longview, Kelso and Marysville.

This past Monday, Smith told the city he has been in frequent contact with the Americans United Against Church and State, headed by the Rev. Barry Lynn.

That was, apparently, a game changer.

Americans United (AU) joined President Obama this week in the effort to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In their press release they said DOMA "should be struck down" because it is "an example of government promotion of religion."

Rev. Lynn says, "While some religious institutions may have a history of defining marriage as between a man and a woman, that tradition is separate from, and cannot be allowed to dictate civil law. The legal definition of civil marriage is not tied to particular religious traditions, but instead reflects changes in contemporary understandings of marriage."

Longview City Attorney James McNamara said the US Supreme Court law has made it clear that invocations can be given at city council meetings.

"The more unclear answer is whether the prayer can invoke the name of Jesus Christ."

Obviously when the city council became aware that Americans United, with their nearly unlimited financial resources, were in constant contact with Smith, they caved to the prospect of a lawsuit. Much like public schools respond every time AU or the ACLU challenges them.

The mayor announced this week that the city can not afford a lawsuit. The prayers have been silenced. There was no invocation at the last council meeting.

One man, demanding his right of freedom from religion, has silenced the prayers in the City of Longview city council meetings.

And it has happened as a result of an inverted application of Thomas Jefferson's explanation to the Danbury Baptists that there is a wall of protection between the church and the state which provides protection for the church and precludes the state from meddling in the affairs of the church.

Dr. A A Hodge, a Princeton professor (1823-1886), had deep concerns about the effect atheism could have on our public education system and our public expression of faith.

His lectures are studied and his statements often quoted.

He once said, "The absence of religious expression in the public discourse grants, by default, all power to the advocates of atheism, agnosticism, humanism and nihilism."

This is yet another default.

God help us.


  1. "there are other spiritual entities---such as demons and other gods cited in the Bible---the minister's prayers are specific about whom they call upon."

    You people are freaking crazy and the sane world is finally figuring this out. Go off in your corner and have your religion, just stop forcing it where it doesn't belong.

    1. This country was based on, and flourished for many years because of, the moral Christian values.

      So sad ---

      I am with the people who believe in standing by our founding fathers, and all they fought for.

    2. demons and other gods. really? why don't we just call in sam & dean winchester to make us safe?

    3. 9:02

      If you took the time to read the Bible you'd MAYBE understand what the man was talking about. The Bible cites many deities that people believed in, including Baal, Marduk, Ra and demons such as Beezubulb (sic). YHWH, pronounced Yahweh specifically claims to have created all things and be the only God and quite convincingly backs it up. There is safety in only one thing, Jesus Christ.

      I think the quote you were looking for is " God made man, Samuel Colt made them equal". Clearly Mr. Colt failed, the unborn don't own guns.

      Craig in Lacey

  2. I think opening civil meetings with a distinctly Christian prayer is probably unnecessary.

    That said, what kind of a wussy is this Dan Smith, that he gets the vapors at the thought of somebody addressing a God he doesn't believe exists anyway? He talks about having to "endure" a Christian prayer. Poor baby. How he must suffer.

  3. America was not founded by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims or any other faith. It was founded by Christians and it is the tenants of this faith that has made America the amazingly great nation that it is. Look at the nations where the above faiths are dominant. Who wants America to be like them? Not me.I pray daily that God will heal our nation,in Jesus' name.

    1. Madge, your comment couldn't be more distant from the concepts of freedom and inclusion this country was founded upon. Shame on you!

      America was founded by all white men. Using your logic, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and yes even you, a woman, should recognize our secondary status in this country. After all, it's their country, not ours, isn't it?

    2. I got your name wrong in my comment, Marge. It was unintentional. My apologies.

    3. No, it's not theirs' or Africans or Hispanics or Asians or woman or children's, it is ours! I am an African-American and I'm second to no one except Jesus Christ. Public prayer is Constitutional, regardless of the deity being prayed to and has been recognized as such by the Supreme Court. Religion is just as much a part of the public sphere as anything else. If someone doesn't want to hear it, they can leave, just like if someone says something else that a particular person doesn't like. It's called the 1st Amendment. That guy can always move to North Korea, they have no religion.

      Your argument is specious.You do know that Congress is opened with prayer? That Presidents pray publicly and have since our founding? That one of the first acts of Congress was to commission the printing of 20,000 Bibles?

      OMG! they couldn't do that, separation of church and state!

      I think they understood it better than you apparently do

      Craig in Lacey

  4. The question I have is WHERE is the line going to be drawn? Those opposed to expressions of faith, ultimately will move into our homes. If I have family devotions at dinner, are they going to see me through my house window, be offended at my head bowing in prayer and demand I cannot do it? It sounds crazy, but as a government employee, they will attempt to connect the two and say that I am not able to do my govermnent job because I am distinctly Christian. Watch, the next trend is coming...I will however not stop praising God on and off the job!!!

    1. First off, I find this comment ironic, given that "Christians" have been at he forefront of laws that dictate, for example, whether two consenting unrelated adults can have sex in the privacy of their own homes. But, no, Rex Queen, the Constitution and the Supreme Court have been clear that private worship is wholly and undoubtedly protected.

      The conflict comes in the public realm, especially when governments appear to hold one religious belief in higher esteem than others, as in this city council. Government should not offer or take any position on religion at all ... That includes Christianity, Hinduism, Catholicism, atheism, agnosticism, nihilism, or humanism. When a city council does not pray, it does not give "power" to atheism or any other position on religion. It's taking no position at all. When my dentist doesn't pray with me before cleaning my teeth, I don't assume he's an atheist. I can't assume anything. Like at the dentist, the topic of religion or lack thereof should not even come up.

    2. Really Rex? Are you really that delusionally paranoid? This is a great example of why it's so hard to have a rational discussion about separation of church and state with people who believe in gods and demons and men in the sky.

    3. 11:16

      Public worship is also protected by the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

      Guess which document adorns the walls behind them. The 10 Commandments.

    4. 8:07 Public worship is protected by the Constitution for individuals, not the government. A government meeting that begins with a prayer is not individual public worship.

    5. You do know that Congress is opened with prayer? Right?

    6. P.S. I forgot to include that the gov. is made up of individuals, who may invite their fellows in government, on gov. time, to join in prayer. It's been done many times.

  5. It would seem that those who profess to be tolerant are actually the most intolerant.
    Why can't pastors, all us Christians, just speak up each meeting and use the name of Jesus, Yeshua, without the sanction of the official council. That way the wimpy council would be shown up for what it is, without principles, and the Lord God Omnipotent would still be glorified. None of us have lost our right to speak the truth in love. So just do it, Longview Christians, and put that atheist where he belongs.

    1. Pauline, I completely agree with you. We just need to keep speaking up. Apparently we scare the holy h--- out of atheists when Jesus' name is mentioned. They should be scared! Their day is coming. We cannot insult the Holy God without repercussions. Too bad if you don't believe. It will make no difference. The Day of the Lord is coming, and none too soon.

  6. I think Gary's point of view was made clear when he wrongly called "Americans United For Separation of Church and State" the "Americans United Against Church and State". Doubt that mistake came from God.

    There are fanatics on both sides of this: Those that want no prayer and those that want only their specific prayer. Kudos to the mayor for going for the compromise and I'm sure he can find a someone that can do one for him.

    1. There is only one reason we are placed here on earth, for those that choose to follow Christ, and that is to be the hands and feet of Christ and to go out into all the earth and to proclaim His name. Now we cannot do that if we are silent.

      Bonnie in Yelm

    2. Thanks Bonnie. I wonder how Oshtur would see it if at a public meeting you could not name any one who was a homosexual for anything good. But we compromised and allowed people but not their sexual identy named , Of course then it would be considered bigoted . Because it would be . Separation of Church and State is a concept that is suppose to protect religious freedom , not stiffle it . If a law was written that outlawed the use of Jesus being stated at a public meeting , it would be Un Constitutional . Here a person intimidates the public , bullying , and it is supported by the left .


    3. Mick, your straw man is pretty unsteady. This isn't about being able to mention Jesus or homosexual ATM at the meeting but having an invocation of a particular godhead as part of the official meeting proceedings.

      Again, this is old news - the Supreme Court has said nondenominational prayers, invocations, moments of silence, etc are all ok even as part of the official meeting proceedings. but to have only one religion represented as a continual practice is not.

      Hence the very reasonable compromise of having a nondenominational prayer.

      Cutting off your nose to spite your face by taking down the number of city councils that still have an opening prayer at all by 1/3 seems like hubris to me.

      Again, Mayor should be commended for looking for a place of compromise too bad the fanatics won't let it happen.

  7. So how much longer are we to be bullied by the gay agenda and athiest's ways?

    The government on many levels seems to be allowing this kind of treatment. And we expected them to do justly.

    But how can they if they hate the good and love the evil? (see Micah 3:2,3)

  8. If it came to a trial as to the goodness of a name, shouldn't the name of Jesus Christ trump all other names given unto men by God for righteousness, truth, justice, mercy, goodness, and salvation?

    I know that it would if ever it was in a fair, honest, and just court.

    It's not fair to the people to allow in,... just any old name.

    I wonder what the content of the Christian's prayer was that the man had to "endure". What was in it that was the cause of his "suffering"? What was in it that would be the legitimate cause of any present distress?

    Did anyone even look into it before they made a decision?

    Was justice really done? Do they even know what justice is about anymore?

  9. God only gave us the name of Jesus Christ whereby we must be saved.

    I guess the athiest thinks he can get rid of all names, and thereby have his way over the will of all others, in the name of "fairness".

  10. The real problem is not so much that the prayer is said or not , its the intimidation used to stop the prayer . Remember in HS we had a rabbi come and pray at one of our sports banquets before dinner . It was not a big deal . The left has secularized and promoted a PC keep it actually has hurt this country . For instance the openinhg comments of being totally unaware of the concept of evil being a spiritual problem . That evil exists also in the realm of the unseen is such a foreign concept to thisblogger that he considered it out of bounds . Such a common religious tenet to so many different religions . But because it he or she is not been exposed to it , people are afraid of religious people.



    Is it possible to be saved without having your sins forgiven? Was Saul saved by faith alone before his sins were forgiven?

    If Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, then he was saved without having his sins forgiven.

    Saul believed in Jesus on the road Damascus, but his sins were forgiven three days later in Damascus
    Act 9:1-19......9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank....

    Saul sins were forgiven in Damascus, three days later, not on the road to Damascus.
    Acts 22:1-16.....10 And I said, 'What shall I do Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'.......16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins,calling on His name!

    Saul was not saved by faith only. Saul was saved by believing and being baptized in water.

    Jesus did not establish faith only salvation on the road to Damascus. Jesus confirmed what He already had said "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved"... (Mark 16:16)

    You cannot be saved unless your sins have been forgiven.

    In order to support the doctrine of faith only men have offered many reasons why the Scriptures cannot be trusted.
    1. The Bible is not the inerrant word of God, it has many errors and contradictions.
    2. You have to be a Greek scholar to understand the Bible. If you understand the original Greek language, then you would know water baptism is not essential for forgiveness of sins.
    3. You need to use extra-Biblical writings to understand the plan of salvation.
    4. The Bible has been mistranslated, therefore men are saved by faith only and not the way it is presented in the Bible.

    If God is not smart enough to give men an accurate translation of His plan for salvation and Christian living, then why would anyone trust in Him for salvation or for anything else.

    God has given us His plan of salvation in many translations, in different languages. You do not have to know Greek.You do not have to have a Greek dictionary. You do have to be Greek. If men had to be able to read and understand original Greek to understand the Bible, then all Bibles would be in Greek.


    Men are not saved by faith only and there is no verse of Scripture that states men are saved by faith only. Men are saved by faith, but not by faith only.

    You are invited to follow my Christian blog. Google search: steve finnell a christian view

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