Headline from today: "Indiana House prayers can't mention Christ". Apparently a judge in Indiana has bought the ICLU's argument that having prayers before House sessions by Christians that mention "Jesus" or "our God" is an establishment of religion on the part of the state that violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. "Geezy pete!" as a character in an old sitcom would say.
If anyone would actually take the time anymore to read the First Amendment, and interpret it in the light in which it was written, they would see that this is nonsense. I didn't go to law school, but I did take two Con Law classes in college taught by a law professor, so I think I have a fair grounding on this issue. The Establishment Clause was written so that the Founding Fathers could not establish a state religion like there was in England, which their ancestors had left behind. They wanted us all to be able to worship freely, and the state was not to prohibit the free exercise of religion by its citizens. The "free exercise" clause, as it's coincidentally called, is often overlooked in Church/State cases.
The House had lay person, a rabbi, an Iman, and others also offer prayer before session. We do the same thing here in the Ohio Senate--someone different always offers the prayer that opens session. Sure, a lot of them are Christian (a lot of Ohioans--heck, a lot of Americans are Christian, so that just makes sense. But we've had a rabbi, too, and other faiths. We try to be"diverse", and it seems Indiana was trying to do the same thing. But the judge wrote that the House had "overstepped constitutional restirctions" and the prayer was an "official endorsement of the Christian religion". Was it like a campaign commercial, where at the end the Speaker said, "This prayer endorsed by the State of Indiana"?
In my view, an "establishment" of religion would be if the Governor of Indiana, or Ohio, or Kentucky, or Minnesota, got up and declared, "Today I'm issuing an executive order making (fill in the blank) the official religion of this state. If you do not practice this religion, you will have certain rights limited or revoked, etc., etc." A simple prayer to open a session doesn't qualify. It's one person's expression of belief that may be shared by others in the chamber. And why is it that if a non-Christian gives the prayer, that's not an establishment of religion? I don't see anyone up in arms if an iman gives a speech because that's "establishing religion". Sigh. Just more lunacy from the Loony Left. No wonder people are scared to say "Merry Christmas!"