Let us pray

Political leaders should not be separated from their faith

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It’s amazing.

Some folks want to ignore or rewrite what’s actually in the Constitution; they want it to be a “living” document, in which the words mean whatever we want them to at any particular time.

At the same time, many of the same folks want to treat a line out of a Thomas Jefferson letter as the ironclad, indisputable law of the land.

Now, there’s an interesting intellectual cul-de-sac for you.

The term “separation of church and state,” it should go without saying (but doesn’t) never appears in the U.S. Constitution. It’s loosely lifted from a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist association in 1802. In it, he was attempting to assuage any fears Americans might have of government interference in their religious affairs.

Jefferson’s aim wasn’t to build a wall preventing religious people from taking to the town square in full voice. Indeed, he and the nation’s other founders were quite openly religious in their public roles and public places. They made no bones about it.

And you can safely suppose they knew a little something about the Constitution. They’d just written it themselves.

Despite all this, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Reli­gion Foundation is attacking Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s coordinating a monthly prayer breakfast for Augusta, which he has done since taking office in 2005.

The prayer breakfast, which is rotated among churches, is a way for area leaders to voluntarily offer up prayers for the city. But the organizers have made a point of using the events for a particularly secular and urgent mission: racial healing. The breakfasts have taken place at a roster of predominantly black and white churches of varied denominations.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished!

The Freedom from Reli­gion Foundation has asked for an accounting of the city’s financial involvement and correspondence in helping arrange the breakfasts. So far, it appears that amounts to minimal amounts of staff time sending e-mails. That’s it. Any food is contributed. There are no costs to the city.

As for the correspondence, it’s a good bet the Freedom from Reli­gion Foundation will find a horrifying mix of mundane detail and good will being spread about electronically.

Off with their heads!

The Freedom from Reli­gion Foundation, which is so worried about how much money the city might be spending on the prayer breakfasts, has already likely cost the city many times more in responding to its frivolous attack. On Tuesday, city General Counsel Andrew Mackenzie concluded after investigation and research that the city was on sound legal footing – noting that the mayor’s office makes all kinds of announcements that, in toto, do not favor religion over non-religion.

How sad, and utterly wrongheaded, to be attacking people of faith and good will coming together for the best interests of all. If that is unconstitutional, then so is the American experiment. So is the Constitution.

Of course, it isn’t.

There is no right to “freedom from religion” to be found in the Constitution, which is still the law of the land. There is, however, the right to “the free exercise thereof.” Deke Copenhaver did not waive his rights when he took the oath of office. Nor has he favored any denomination, or in any way established a religion as the First Amendment proscribes.

What he has done is almost singlehandedly lifted up the political and civic climate in this community since taking office, with a good heart and good works.

If anything, he is guilty merely of living out his faith – which isn’t yet a crime. Then again, the Bible – which is still above government control or reproach – celebrates people of faith in government.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” says Psalm 33:12. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn,” says Proverbs 29:2.

They don’t just want a “separation of church and state” – which, again, isn’t even called for in the Constitution. They want to separate our leaders from their faith.

No can do.

Comments (39) Add comment
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Fiat_Lux
15449
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Fiat_Lux 07/11/12 - 09:18 am
8
3
The harangue that will now ensue

should be quite stimulating.

You have to wonder how people can be such pickers of nits and spoiled sports. Bad childhoods? No friends? Losers? Just plain miserable? It almost begs for a diagnostic designation: theopath or theological oppositional deity defiance disorder or maybe cosmological depression. Something.

shrimp for breakfast
5456
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shrimp for breakfast 07/10/12 - 11:48 pm
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3
Just like Rev Ragan said...

It's the seperation of church and state, not the seperation of God and state. Another one of his lines... Freedom of Religion, Not freedom from religion.This is a free country and people can pray wherever they want without the fear of being persecuted.That is unless some ridiculous northern dingbats with too much time on their hands start meddeling in other peoples business.
I don't care how you did it up North, this is the South and that's how we roll. I'm sure there's plenty of Yankees up there praying somewhere. Why don't you go bother them?

OJP
6669
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OJP 07/11/12 - 12:20 am
5
5
Again with the ignoring of the Establishment Clause...

I'd really rather bang my head against a rusty nail than go through this again (clearly to no avail).

Faithful
12
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Faithful 07/11/12 - 03:07 am
6
9
Really?

That's how we roll in the South? Really? So I guess that means we can [filtered word] on the Constitution because obviously it doesn't apply in the Bible Belt. Regardless of what my handle is, I am not religious, especially not Christian. All the Founders were deist, and this is a secular nation, period.

myfather15
55706
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myfather15 07/11/12 - 06:35 am
6
2
Another pathetic attempt at

Another pathetic attempt at claiming they were deist with ZERO proof. They attended CHRISTIAN Churches. I don't care what you are personally, thats between you and whomever or whatever you believe. But stop lying to fit your agenda. Show proof or just stop saying it. There is plenty of proof in their own personal writings, look it up. But you still wouldn't believe it. Or maybe you would believe it but still deny it publicly so as to fit your agenda.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 07/11/12 - 06:42 am
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2
OJP, you can cry

OJP, you can cry Establishment Clause till the cows come home but if your argument has no validity to it, it's not going to change no matter how many times you make the argument. The Establishment Clause DOES NOT relate to the incident of the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.

faithson, guess you aren't from the south so you wouldn't understand the phrase "That's how we roll". Shrimpforbreakfast, been a while. Glad to see you back and most southerners will understand what you meant.

Yes, most of our Founding Fathers were deist. Do you know what a deist is? You make it out like a deist is an atheist. Diest believe in God, they believe that God made the world, and although they might believe that God does not interfer in human's daily life, they do believe that he is supreme and Almighty. So what matter is it whether the Founding Fathers were "deist" or "Christian". You may believe this nation is secular (and it appears to be heading that way) but I still believe we are a Christian nation who have lost our way. May those of us who believe in the Almighty pray we open our eyes and return to Him.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/11/12 - 06:42 am
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8
When has Deke had his

When has Deke had his breakfast at the Hindu Temple of Augusta, Masjid Al-Huda, Guru Singh Sabha, or Wat Santidham? I must have missed those stories.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 07/11/12 - 06:43 am
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4
Maybe he's never been invited

Maybe he's never been invited Techfan.

Riverman1
84207
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Riverman1 07/11/12 - 06:58 am
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1
Ernie Said...

Ernie said, "Tell them to go to hell."
Sylvia C.

Southern Leslie
2206
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 07:15 am
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2
The "establishment clause"
Unpublished

The "establishment clause" applies ONLY to Congress. It does NOT prevent any State or local government from excercising their relition, and as a matter of fact does not even prevent them from establishing an official religion if they see fit.

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 07/11/12 - 07:17 am
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Of course this language is

Of course this language is not in the Constitution. But court decisions have established precedents that supercede the Constitution verbatim and makes it living and dead at the same time. I guess it is a zombietution.

Southern Leslie
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 07:21 am
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"That's how we roll in the
Unpublished

"That's how we roll in the South? Really? So I guess that means we can [filtered word] on the Constitution because obviously it doesn't apply in the Bible Belt. "

Please tell us, Faithful, how this in any way violates the Constitution. Please be specific.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 07/11/12 - 07:46 am
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Fiat_Lux

To Fiat's point, Liberals just have to be the most miserable people on earth. Nothing seems to bring them joy and it galls them that other people are happy.

Southern Leslie
2206
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 07:57 am
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The First Amendment to the
Unpublished

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the federal government from enacting any law respecting a religious establishment, and thus forbids either designating an official church for the United States, or interfering with State and local official churches which were common when the First Amendment was enacted. It did not prevent state governments from establishing official churches. Connecticut continued to do so until it replaced its colonial Charter with the Connecticut Constitution of 1818.

nofanofobama
6825
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nofanofobama 07/11/12 - 08:01 am
7
4
the most intoleranrt people

the most intoleranrt people in the world are sel-proclaimed tolerant liberals...our fore father fled state sponsored religions--ithey did not flee religious people in govt who practiced their faith..i quess the question that always bugs me is the left hatred of ethics that come from the bible..ie the 10 commandments**why the hatred of standards..they dont restrict our lives they improve our lives..quess its the 10th commandment about coveting others people material goods that gets their goat**

Bantana
2071
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Bantana 07/11/12 - 10:27 am
3
3
nofan wrote:

..."quess its the 10th commandment about coveting others people material goods that gets their goat**"

in my circle of progressives, that sentiment couldn't be any further from the truth.

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 07/11/12 - 10:50 am
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0
"The First Amendment to the

"The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the federal government from enacting any law respecting a religious establishment..."

But it does give us the right to make up our own minds, respecting any Religion we so desire! It's called FREEDOM!

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 07/11/12 - 10:58 am
6
1
"Regardless of what my handle

"Regardless of what my handle is, I am not religious, especially not Christian. All the Founders were deist, and this is a secular nation, period."

Especially not Christian, huh? So, does this mean that you don't like Christians? Gosh, the last time I checked, our CIC said this is NOT a secular nation! He might want it to be, but thankfully, the majority of Americans are Christians. Possibly you could research this and find out for yourself.

Nomaninthesky
347
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Nomaninthesky 07/11/12 - 11:41 am
2
9
Not a christian

I am not a christian either and after reading these posts it just reminds me how happy i am without religion. Unfortunately, for the southerners more and more open minded liberals are moving into your cities.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 07/11/12 - 11:47 am
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Faithful stated "All the

Faithful stated "All the Founders were deist, and this is a secular nation,

I believe if you will read the article at the link provided you will discover you are incorrect.

http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html/#Constitution

shrimp for breakfast
5456
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shrimp for breakfast 07/11/12 - 12:08 pm
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2
Faithful you need to study your history.

There is no clause in the constitution about the seperation of church and state. Not one mention of it. Nada none, zip.
You're thinking of one of Jefferson's letters.
By the way I'm not a Christian or any religion for that matter.
I am an Historian with two masters in History and I cringe when I hear everyone saying that Obama is walking all over the Constitution. This is another false statement made up by people who are too ignorant to actually know what is in the document. It's a whizz bang document to say the least. Every president since Washington has adhered to it and if they had not the Supreme Court would be screaming from the highest podium in the land!
Are you one of those people that don't believe the President was born in this country?

Southern Leslie
2206
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 01:00 pm
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2
56 signers of the Declaration
Unpublished

56 signers of the Declaration of Independence:

32-Episcopalian/Anglican
13-Congregationalist
12-Congregationalist
2-Quaker
2-Unitarian/Universalist
1-Catholic
0-Deist

Let's see how many thumbs down I get from the liberals for simply stating a fact.

nofanofobama
6825
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nofanofobama 07/11/12 - 01:14 pm
4
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bantana-then i know you are

bantana-then i know you are not in favor of taxing the rich more...afterall they pay the vast majority of taxes...

OJP
6669
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OJP 07/11/12 - 02:08 pm
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@Southern Leslie

The 1st Amendment applies to all levels of government pursuant to the 14th Amendment (a process called "incorporation").

OJP
6669
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OJP 07/11/12 - 02:09 pm
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@ICL

I was referring specifically to this line:

"There is no right to “freedom from religion” to be found in the Constitution"

That is a generalized statement that goes beyond the prayer breakfast.

Southern Leslie
2206
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 02:15 pm
1
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OJP...show where anything I
Unpublished

OJP...show where anything I posted is untrue.

OJP
6669
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OJP 07/11/12 - 02:18 pm
1
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@Southern Leslie

This is unquestionably false:

"The "establishment clause" applies ONLY to Congress. It does NOT prevent any State or local government from excercising their relition, and as a matter of fact does not even prevent them from establishing an official religion if they see fit."

Google: First Amendment Incorporation

Southern Leslie
2206
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 02:19 pm
2
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I read the 14th amendment.
Unpublished

I read the 14th amendment. It says no such thing. As a matter of fact, the 10th reenforces what I posted.

OJP
6669
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OJP 07/11/12 - 02:26 pm
1
1
@Southern Leslie

The 1st Amendment applies to the States via the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment (see, Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)).

You are wrong.

Southern Leslie
2206
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Southern Leslie 07/11/12 - 02:26 pm
2
1
Legal precidents can always
Unpublished

Legal precidents can always be overturned. I'm speaking of constitutionality.

I am NOT wrong.

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