Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. … that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. … All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
Of note is that these words, delivered by a pastor speaking to the Greece Town Board, came from the opening prayer of the Continental Congress in 1774, delivered by Jacob Duche, rector of Christ Church Philadelphia. What’s been okay for 239 years may soon be illegal. The issue comes before the Court today to determine what exactly was meant by the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” We’ve been on this slippery slope for a long time, and not just since 1963 when another Jezebel, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, had prayer thrown out of public school. In the 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzman case, the Court said that prayers associated with government must have a “secular purpose” and cannot “advance religion.” In the name of all that is rational and sane, how can prayer that is at all meaningful have a “secular purpose?” And what’s the point of praying if it isn’t to “advance religion?” It’s true that the Obama administration defends the use of legislative prayer, such as in the Greece NY situation, but only because it is “Congress’ tradition,” not because prayer is actually believed to be effectual in any real way. As followers of this ministry know, I’ve spend a lot of time the past couple of years ministering in the former Soviet Union and Russia. The fervor for God in that part of the word, and the freedom to pray, eclipses that of America. We should be ashamed that those bound by a century of atheism now love God more than some in America, and they are willing to say so publicly without government interference.
Not much in our world lasts long, but “the Lord shall endure forever” (Psalm 9:7). As society and government rapidly moves further and further away from God, it’s comforting to know that He hasn’t moved. The Almighty is not affected by the petulance of man’s arrogant desire to rid Him from our daily lives. While America disregards God’s law to a greater extent with each passing day, we need to be reminded of the rest of this verse: “He has prepared His throne for judgment.” We need it written large over the entry to every building of our government: HE WILL ENDURE AND HE WILL JUDGE!