April 27, 2010

Borrowing a phrase from Bill O'Reilly's number 1 best-seller of 2007 Culture Warrior, the phrase "secular-progressive" best defines the non-theist, non-religious, not necessarily infiltrated by the radical left's agenda of socialism. However, since the Obama victory in 2008 and the radical agenda of all but the so-called "Blue-Dogs," the Democrats in Congress and the White House, plus four of nine members of the Supreme Court would proudly wear the phrase "Secular-Progressive Socialist as a badge of honor and distinction.

"Secular" would no longer mean simply non-theist or non-religious, but anti-religious. "Progressive" would show their intense desire to "progress beyond the primitive mentality of the stuck-in-the-mud conservative and Christian right. "Socialist" showing their contempt for capitalism and republican-democracy as a whole.

The key word in the phrase is "Secular."  Secularism, according to culture warrior Cal Thomas and Hoover Institute scholar Dinesh D'Sousa, is a worldview which is practiced in such a way as to be construed as a religion.  Remember this point as I now turn your attention to a recent decision by Federal Court judge to disallow the National Day of Prayer as support for and a display of religion.

The last two weeks have been anything but calm in the world of faith and religion. Conservative Christians are wondering whether they are being betrayed by both the White House and the court system. The ruling of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional and violates the concept of the separation of church and state has been like a blow to the heart for battle weary Christians. In the much touted culture wars, there has never been such an open case of secularists throwing down the gauntlet in a specific area that has been deemed “Christian territory.”

Perhaps the blame for this change in the political atmosphere should be laid at the feet of the current administration and it’s concept of pluralism. After all, the president boldly declared last year that the US was no longer a Christian nation. This remark infuriated the faithful and set the stage for millions of rank and file Christians to question his personal faith.

Next, he did not attend the National Day of Prayer and refused to make a declaration or statement until late in the day last year. Conservative Christian powerbrokers watched tentatively as the administration attempted to bring new leaders into the president’s advisory circle. These new leaders had no real national cache’ with the Christian masses. Despite the fact that the president attended a Congressional prayer breakfast earlier this year, his approach seems to have been aimed at “defanging” the politically powerful, religious right.

The latest debacle concerning the National Day of Prayer is even more volatile than the other issues. Uninviting Franklin Graham to speak at the Pentagon has raised eyebrows among the faithful from Maine to Mississippi and everywhere in between. It almost goes without saying that Franklin Graham holds a very prominent place in the evangelical community because of the stature of his dad - Billy. President Obama’s visit with Billy Graham this weekend may be a sign that he knows that he has gotten himself into deep waters.

The benign neglect approach to the conservative, religious community may backfire and create irreconcilable differences between this president and millions of the nation’s Christians. Who ever would have thought that prayer would have caused a national controversy? After all, in these turbulent times, we could use both divine wisdom and God’s gracious intervention.

Perhaps political liberals believe that the religious right will be emboldened or strengthened, if they are allowed to pray in public places or on special national holidays. Or maybe they believe that some form of psychological harm will befall those who are not attached to one of the many Christian denominations. Contrary to the public myths, everyone is encouraged to pray to the God of their own religious tradition. More importantly, acts of hatred, name-calling, or intolerant public jeering have never occurred at one of these prayer events.

It seems to me that the great faith of our leaders has not drawn the nation to prayer. Instead the huge needs of the nation have always driven men of faith and goodwill to pursue divine intervention. As I mused on this, I came upon a prayer offered up to God on behalf of the U.S. people in June of 1944. I have included just a snippet of this prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith…

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. ...

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the scheming(s) of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.”

I am thankful that FDR prayed this bold prayer in clear and understandable terms during World War II. FDR was a progressive and he was a socialist.  We have come a long way from his view of Progressive Socialism to Obama's Secular progressive socialism; one in which the God of heaven is more of a nuisance standing in the way of his dream to convert the U.S. citizenry into the worship of government rather than a Creator.  

I pray that President Obama will catch the spirit of prayer and follow FDR’s example, but I have my doubts. Entrenched in Black Liberation Theology as espoused by his mentor and pastor of twenty years he firmly believes that the government owes people. That the haves must provide for and give to the "have nots." Given his view of society and government we all need to pray, and that to an intervening God not and dependency teaching government.

Bishop Harry R. Jackson, a black syndicated columnist and pastor living in Washington D.C. said it best when he noted that dependency on government is no different than dependency on God in that both are religious actions. The difference, of course, is that government makes promises God gives provisions.

For those who fear that our freedoms in the arena of faith and religion are being taken away I say let us not be afraid of the power of prayer. Let’s use this awesome spiritual weapon to ensure the continued light and favor that America has enjoyed over the past 234 years.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.