The Right’s favorite “founding father” gets thrashed…
World Batshit Insane Daily (WND) is up in arms about the most recent battle in the “war on faith.” Apparently at the bi-monthly meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina, officials would invite speakers of “all faiths and denominations” to give an invocation at their meeting. On the face of the issue, it sounds like a good-enough idea. But, “all faiths” does not ring as true with every prayer ends in giving all props to Jesus.
Two concerned individuals, Janet Joyner and Constance Lynn Blackmon, were bothered by the incongruity of extending a call for all faiths, but due to local demographics and social pressure, only seeing Christians. While it was county policy that no prayer could attempt to convert others, when Jesus is constantly referred to as the one true savior and guiding force of right in the universe, it is easy to feel like undue credit is being given to the deity of the majority.
The pair of citizens decided to sue the board of commissioners with the help of Americans United and the ACLU, which has the writers at WND outraged. How dare some citizens use their governmentally secured freedoms to impose on someone else’s “god given” rights?
Thankfully, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a two to one decision in favor of limiting the use of any particular deity’s “revealed or inspired” name in governmental proceedings. Judge Wilkinson handed down the majority opinion.
“While legislative prayer has the capacity to solemnize the weighty task of governance … it also has the potential to generate sectarian strife. Such conflict rends communities and does violence to the pluralistic and inclusive values that are a defining feature of American public life.”
“It is not enough to contend, as the dissent does, that the policy was ‘neutral and proactively inclusive. Take-all-comers policies that do not discourage sectarian prayer will inevitably favor the majorit[y] faith in the community at the expense of religious minorities living therein. This effect creates real burdens on citizens – particularly those who attend meetings only sporadically – for they will have to listen to someone professing religious beliefs that they do not themselves hold.” – Wilkinson
The conservative legal action group, The Alliance Defense Fund, has stepped in on the side of the Board of Commissioners and is petitioning the Supreme Court to overrule the Fourth Circuit’s decision. Like a number of recent restrictions on language of prayer used at governmental gatherings, such as Federal Judge Fred Biery’s recent restriction on public school prayers, political appointees in the Judicial branch will likely move to negate the 4th circuit ruling before it reaches the Supreme Court.