Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another WorldNetDaily Article

that doesn't "get" the religious pluralism of the American Founding. It's here. The article features a pastor who holds to a very strict understanding of the Christian faith, trying to claim the "Christian" heritage of the American Founding while juxtaposing the terms "Christian" and "Judeo-Christian."

The context of controversy is some local town opens its meetings in Jesus name and America's United For Separation of Church and State files a complaint telling them to consider more generic prayers or not having prayers at all.

My main beef with the Pastor's thoughts is the idea that America has an exclusively "Christian" or "Judeo-Christian" "foundation." No. America has a synthesis foundation. It's not exclusive. It's pluralistic. It's Protestant Christian, Hebraic, Enlightenment, Whig, Common Law, Natural Law/Natural Rights, noble pagan (Greco-Roman, and even Anglo-Saxon).

And, to repeat, it's pluralistic.

If it is "Judeo-Christian," and there are Jews at the town meeting, well, they probably don't want to hear prayers in Jesus' name. While I can't speak for how the Founding era chaplains opened their meetings -- I agree with the Pastor, that, I'm sure a lot of it was done in Jesus name -- I do know that the first four Presidents never prayed in Jesus name while acting as President. George Washington, for instance, a great man of prayer, was never recorded as praying in Jesus name ever.

(The closest you get to a prayer in Jesus name among Founding Presidents was the unitarian John Adams' Thanksgiving Address which mentioned the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Which, by the way, John Adams later regretted giving.)

Something tells me the pastor doesn't want to appreciate the American Founding's inclusive and religiously pluralistic heritage because it looks too close to "the universalism message that ‘all religious views hold equal value and consideration[,]’” which he derides. Well that heritage is just as "there" in America's Founding along with the "Christian" and "Judeo-Christian" heritage.

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