Lots of God/Government stuff turning up in the news the past couple of days. Perhaps the religious among you can tell me what any of this has to do with leading a spiritually fulfilling life, pleasing to whichever God rules the universe.
First, we have a guy in Southport refusing to act in an orderly fashion at a City Council meeting as a way to protest the lack of prayer to open City Council meetings. By way of protest, he started praying out loud during a moment of silence; he was asked to be quiet; he started talking louder; he was asked to leave; he refused; he was escorted out; he grabbed a chair. He was arrested. Let’s be clear, he was not arrested for praying. Had he prayed silently or been quiet when asked or left when asked, there would have been no arrest. It was his insistence on disrupting the meeting that led to his arrest.
Clergy-led prayer returns to the House of Representatives. After Speaker Bosma’s apparent endorsement of sectarian prayer as official House business, including a nice revival style, singing and clapping rendition of “Just a Little Walk with Jesus;” litigation ensued and the practice of clergy led prayer in the House stopped. Apparently it will make a comeback this session. I’m with Ken Falk and the ACLU of Indiana when he says that there is “no problem in having a minister give a nonsectarian prayer.” It does, however, seem relatively useless to me. If you are a believer, such a public display is: a) unnecessary to satisfy your spiritual needs; and/or b) so bland as to be ineffective at doing so. If you are not a believer, such a display is: a) mildly offensive; and/or b) a waste of time. If you are a narcissistic, jealous God, such a display is presumably grossly insufficient inasmuch as it could be construed as homage to those other gods of whom you are jealous. If you are not a narcissistic, jealous God, you presumably won’t care about the display one way or the other. So, to me, the only purpose I can see for these things is as a way for a certain noxious subset of nominal believers to demonstrate their supremacy over those who believe differently; in other words, mark their territory.
In other news, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is being sued for refusing to allow a vanity plate that says “BE GODS;” this after it just won a lawsuit on appeal challenging the practice of giving away “In God We Trust Plates” while charging extra for other special interest statement plates.
A BMV policy committee reviewing personalized license plate rules in December 2007 opted to make all religious and deity references off-limits, said Dennis Rosebrough, the agency’s spokesman.
On this, I’m just glad I’m not working for them and being put in the position of defending the “In God We Trust” plates and the denial of the BE GODS” plate.