Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NASA Says "No" to Jesus

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NASA has instructed its scientists, engineers and support teams to refrain from using the word "Jesus" in any announcements, including private announcements, that appear in the Johnson Space Center newsletter.

A NASA engineer says, "It was shocking to all of us and very frustrating."

The engineer says, "NASA has a long history of respecting religious speech, why wouldn't they allow us to put the name of Jesus in the announcements about the club?"

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It is rather shocking that NASA would say "no" to Jesus given their history of astronauts praying, reading the Bible, and even receiving communion while on the moon.

Todd Starnes points out that "On Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 read the Creation story as they orbited the moon. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and Bill Anders took turns reading from the book of Genesis."

NASA defended the astronauts after atheist Madalyn Murray O' Hair filed a federal lawsuit. The Supreme Court dismissed the suit due to "lack of jurisdiction."

Some of us may remember astronaut Buzz Aldrin received communion on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission.

Here's the back story:

Since 2001, employees have gathered during their lunch hour to pray, sing and read the Bible. There had been no censorship.

However, when they published the following announcement last year, NASA reacted.

Join with the praise and worship band “Allied with the Lord” for a refreshing set of spring praise and worship songs on Thursday, June 4, from 11:15 a.m. to noon in Building 57, Room 106. (The theme for this session will be “Jesus is our life!”) Prayer partners will be available for anyone who has need. All JSC civil servants and contractors are welcome.

The club's leadership was told that "NASA would be censoring all future club announcements that featured the name, 'Jesus'."

NASA's legal department explained that including "Jesus'" name within the club's announcement made that announcement "sectarian" or "denominational."

They also said that such announcements would cause NASA to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The organizers offered to include a "disclaimer," explaining that the announcement was private speech, not something endorsed by NASA.

Again NASA said "no" to Jesus.

Liberty Institute, a Christian law firm, has now entered the scene.

In their letter sent Monday of this week, Liberty stated that NASA lawyers pressured a group of employees at the Johnson Space Center to remove the word "Jesus" from a club announcement. They note the demand took place in May and June of 2015.

Liberty says the reason this is unacceptable is because NASA lawyers didn't want innocent observers to come to the erroneous conclusion that the space agency endorses Christianity. An official endorsement of Christianity, says the NASA lawyers, would be a violation of the Establishment Clause.

However, Liberty disagrees, and argues that downward pressure from NASA lawyers constitutes a violation both of religious liberty and free speech. It is clear, Liberty claims the email announcements "do not originate from NASA, but rather from employees on behalf of a private spiritual club."

Liberty has given NASA until March 10, 2016 to reconsider. If they do not, Liberty will file a lawsuit on behalf of the Christians.

NASA released a statement late Monday that does not dispute the claim by Liberty, but says "NASA does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names in employee newsletters or other internal communications." Then went on to list a number of clubs and groups who use the newsletter for announcements, concluding, "We believe in and encourage open and diverse dialog among our employees and across the agency."

Jesus is their problem.

It seems their freedom policies only apply when you leave Jesus in the closet. Or the choir room at church.

Is NASA, and the Supreme Court decision back in 1968 which claimed "no jurisdiction", suggesting that people in the space industry can only practice free speech and freedom of religion if they're in space?

God help us.

Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Bold.


6 comments:

  1. These Christians should sue NASA for violating their first amendment rights and should easily win. They could all testify freely that NASA allows people to tell people about religious activity that includes Jesus, but NASA does not require attendance and participation, thereby they do not violate the establishment clause. And whether NASA believes it or not, Jesus is the one who created the moon and the stars and all things that we see, and even more things beyond all that, so it's only fitting to honor him by including him in news letters and such.

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  2. A question for these lawyers is, How is it that when a pastor of a church endorses a political candidate, it doesn't establish that political persuasion in his church, but if NASA were to formally endorse Christianity, it apparently would? How does that work? I say don't trust anything these lawyers say.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, pastors may not endorse candidates either directly or indirectly on behalf of the church unless they want to give up their tax free status.

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    2. Really, it doesn't matter if pastors may or may not endorse a candidate. Some might do it anyway. So if they said from the pulpit some Sunday morning, I publicly am giving my support to D. Trump or H. Clinton, or whoever, and also want everyone here to know that I fully endorse this candidate, would that mean that everyone in the congregation must vote for that candidate? Is that what the pastor is saying? Common sense tells us no, that is not what he is saying by that. If he wants to say that every congregant must vote for a certain candidate, he would have to say it some other way. He would have to use different words.

      A pastor who would endorse a certain candidate, does not establish a certain political party adherence by doing so, and neither does he establish a following to a particular candidate by so doing. If the IRS or anybody else thinks he is forcing people to comply with his political demands by endorsing a candidate publicly, the problem about that is with them, not the pastor. However if he says, "If you want to become a member of this church you must vote or show your support of this particular candidate, then he has gone much further than a simple public endorsement.

      Did anyone at NASA round up a group at gun point, and march them over to a room where they were forced to sing songs about Jesus?

      Did NASA send out a written memo saying that in order to work for NASA, one must worship Jesus?

      So what's really the problem? The problem is we now have lawyers who don't understand the law, and they want to turn everyone against our Constitution. We also have lost judges who don't apparently know how to properly judge these sorts of things. That's another problem we have today. It's time for a wake up.

      If we let these corrupt people get just a little bit off, they go a mile off.

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    3. And this is unconstitutional. It violates a pastor's first amendment rights. He has the right afforded him by the Constitution to publicly support any political candidate he wants to. This should change. The reason we see the kinds of problems we see here in this article, is because we didn't yet fix it. So we can either sit back and say, "But it's the law." , or we can speak up against this injustice and governmental over reach. It's oppression.

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  3. NASA is saying in effect, that it's so high up in space, it's way above the Constitution.

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