Saturday, December 03, 2005

Federal Judge Bans Jesus From Legislative Prayers

Once again, 'Jesus' is being denied an entrance into the government, through a Judge's denial of the use of Jesus' name in the prayers of ministers opening each legislative session.

U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton, appointed by President Clinton, says prayers must be non-sectarian.

In his 60-page decision U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton cited Supreme Court precedent in ordering Speaker of the House Brian Bosma to keep future ministers from using "Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal."
The lawsuit was brought against Bosma by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union -- the Indiana affiliate of the ACLU -- on behalf of four Indiana citizens. One is a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), another is a retired United Methodist minister and two are Roman Catholic.
The ICLU did not ask that the prayers be discontinued altogether -- only that the prayers not be sectarian and include Christ's name.

Curt Smith is encouraging Bosma to appeal the decision to the U.S. Seventh Court of Appeals. He says that the Judge's ruling is what the lawyer's call 'viewpoint discrimination' - in that he is banning prayers only in the name of Jesus. Smith is the president of the conservative Indiana Family Institute. A Democrat, Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, said he would support Bosma, if he decided to appeal the decision.

This ruling didn't set too well with Bosma. He says the Judge is instructing him to stop ministers from praying in the name of Jesus. He said it's wrong that a court would ask a minister not to give prayers in the tradition of his faith in our free society. There are ministers from all faiths who pray at the opening of the sessions. Many of these ministers have said they will not pray, if they are not able to use the name of Jesus in their prayers.

Hamilton says that the prayers proselytize and advanced the Christian faith. But Bosma disagreed. He said he had always enjoyed the diversity in the prayers. But, he said now Hamilton's ruling forbids any invited minister of exercising their free speech and praying as they normally would in their own faith. One thing that is sort of ironic - Hamilton is the son of a United Methodist minister.

Linked at California Conservative -Open Post: Weekend Edition
Stop The ACLU - Weekend Party For the Politically Incorrect
Conservative Cat - Floating Ping Festival

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