Friday, August 7, 2009

"Oh, LORD! I'm Stuck In Lodi Again!"

The desperation is almost palpable. I've been through Lodi. What a gawd-awful place. Apparently full of God-blighted people, too, as reported today by Prof. Friedman at Religion Clause:
Passions seem to be running high over Lodi, California City Council's decision that prayers delivered at the beginning of Council meetings should be non-sectarian.

Yesterday's San Jose Mercury News reports that Council postponed Wednesday's scheduled discussion of the policy to a special meeting scheduled for Sept. 30.

However competing demonstrators lined the sidewalk-- one side carrying signs saying "Keep them separate" and "Lodi is not a Christian town." The larger group-- some 300-- were on the other side of the issue, chanting "Jesus" and "Amen."

The rally against current policy was sponsored by the national group, The Pray In Jesus Name Project. A 13-year old demonstrator said: "It's becoming harder and harder for the Christians. ... It's only because we support God that our country is as blessed as it is."

Meanwhile inside Methodist minister, Rev. Alan Kimber, delivered a non-sectarian invocation-- a moment of silence and then thanks for our country's freedom to express different beliefs. When he ended with a simple "Amen", some members in the audience yelled out: "in Jesus name." (See prior related posting.)
This is the "prior post":
The Freedom from Religion Foundation continues to demand that city councils across the country end the practice of opening their sessions with sectarian Christian prayer. Two California cities-- Tracy and Lodi-- are currently among its targets. The Tracy Press on Friday editorialized:
Tracy's prayer policy may be inclusive in its intentions, but it's exclusive in its practice of rotating only those religious leaders (all Christian, like the council) who have come forth to offer invocations. It makes political outsiders of those constituents who don't share religious beliefs.
Meanwhile the LA Church and State Examiner reports that Lodi City Council will consider a resolution next month to require that invocations be non-sectarian. However Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt's "Pray in Jesus' Name Project" that favors Lodi's existing policy plans a prayer vigil at city hall on August 5, the scheduled date of the City Council vote.
Personally, I want reference to "god" and or any other imaginary beings stricken from the USer Public Discourse. Would we put "In Spongebob We Trust" on our currency?


Anonymous said...

I agree with your closing remarks and respectfully submit that the very idea of non-sectarian prayer is an oxymoron and is only used to circumvent the concept of separation of church and state in the U.S.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Rational people don't pray.

They think.

It would make as much sense to offer a public prayer to Spongebob as to a non-sectarian "god." Both are imaginary creatures, constructs of human thought, endowed with no more reality than Tinkerbell, and similarly artificially amenable to the appeals of the audience..."Don't let Tink DIE??? Clap your hands! Yeah, like that. Louder. See, she's getting stronger. Keep it up."

Codswallop, clearly. There can be no other reason than to pander to popular, sectarian 'tradition' that civic officials should begin their proceedings with appeals to figments of some sept of the collective imagination.