George Washington Never Wrote That Jesus Prayer

A lawsuit by the American Humanist Association and four individual plaintiffs resulted in a federal ruling on Tuesday, March 25, that placed a preliminary injunction on the Board of Commissioners of Carroll County, Maryland. The commissioners were ordered to cease opening meetings with prayers that specifically reference Jesus Christ, though they can continue having prayers that don’t invoke “the name of a specific deity associated with any specific faith or belief.” The ruling was issued by Judge William D. Quarles Jr. of the U.S. District Court of Maryland.

But Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier not only disagreed with this order, she chose to defy it Thursday morning, March 27, by opening a board budget meeting with a Christian prayer that begins, “O Lord our God, most mighty and merciful father, I thine unworthy creature and servant, do once more approach thy presence.” The prayer goes on to declare the supplicant unworthy due to “natural corruptions” and “many sins and transgressions,” and it twice mentions Jesus Christ by name and once as the son of God.

Frazier introduced the prayer as having been authored by George Washington, saying, “This might be a good opportunity to demonstrate how our founding fathers, and leaders all throughout our history, have upheld the idea that we are a nation based on biblical principles. We’re one nation under God and I believe that’s where our unalienable rights come from.”

Apparently aware that she could be charged with contempt of court, Frazier tearfully proclaimed her willingness to go to jail over the issue. But what she seemed unaware of was that George Washington never wrote that prayer.

The words come from a book commonly called “Washington’s Prayer Journal” though its actual title is “The Daily Sacrifice.” The work has been claimed a product of Washington’s youth, up to age 20, which alone might render it irrelevant even if genuine—for it is Washington’s mature adult views on religion that should logically interest us the most.

The original document is handwritten, numbering twenty-four pages in a pocket memo book. Nothing on the item indicates that it belonged to George Washington. But after Lawrence Washington, a descendant, found it in an old trunk in 1890, he gave specialists a chance to look at it. Historian Franklin Steiner would later write in 1936, “Worthington C. Ford, who had handled more of Washington’s manuscripts than any other man except Washington himself, declared that the penmanship was not that of Washington.” Moreover, Washington was notorious as a poor speller, yet the spelling in the prayer book is quite correct.

The document was also submitted to the Smithsonian, where the handwriting was again analyzed, along with other characteristics. The manuscript was rejected once more for not being authentic. Later, Dr. W.A. Croffutt, a Washington D.C. newspaper correspondent, put the final nail in the coffin when he traced some of the prayers back at least to the reign of the English King James I, who died 107 years before George Washington was born.

But none of this mattered to Philadelphia auctioneer Stan V. Henkels, who, in preparing the catalog of sale for an April 1891 auction of Washington family relics, claimed that the item was in George Washington’s own handwriting and that the prayers were of his own composition. From that time on, assorted Christian apologists have argued for the work’s authenticity and it has been published in both facsimile and print form.

The first print edition was by William Herbert Burk in Washington’s Prayers (1907). Then came George Washington the Christian (1919), an apologetic book by William J. Johnson full of additional errors. The prayers fill the second chapter, and this book is still available from devotional publishers as well as in the Internet Archive. The prayer selected by Commissioner Frazier is number 5.

But one who wishes to understand Washington’s religious views is wiser to consult a more recent source, such as The Ways of Providence: Religion and George Washington (2005) by Frank Grizzard Jr., a former senior editor of the George Washington Papers. Regarding the prayer book, Grizzard writes on page 51:

Tens of thousands of genuine Washington manuscripts have survived to the present, including many from the youthful Washington, and even a cursory comparison of the prayer book with a genuine Washington manuscript reveals that they are not the same handwriting. Nevertheless, the prayers continue to be disseminated under Washington’s name . . .  

But that’s not all. According to the Carroll County Times, John Fea, history department chair at Messiah College, explained, “[The prayer] is far too pious for Washington. In fact, George Washington only referenced Jesus Christ twice in all his extant writings, and neither of them were in a prayer.”

But even if the prayer delivered by Commissioner Frazier had been genuine, perhaps thereby having some patriotic or historical significance, it wouldn’t have changed the legal picture. A continuous habit of delivering specifically Christian prayers at government meetings creates a hostile environment for non-Christian citizens, be they believers in other religions or nonbelievers. As Monica Miller, an attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, pointed out, “Non-Christians, who are necessarily excluded by such sectarian Christian prayers, feel like religious outsiders and second-class citizens in their own community.” And there are many more such people today than in Washington’s time.

Therefore it’s long past due for this sort of Christian privileging to end.

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  • suzifeld

    It amazes me, time after time, to which length these so-called “christians” are willing to go in order to make themselves feel more important, or even superior to other religions as well as the non-believers. I, sincerely, hope that she will be asked to abstain from such practices in the future. I also hope that she will be fined for being in contempt of law. Whatever her belief, it is not to be pushed unto others. We are not all the same. Furthermore, I think she needs to educate herself about the history of our country, as well as what our founding fathers, actually, had in mind when they formed this beautiful land we call home.

    • Gillian Greenwoods

      Perhaps we are much the same in that we all like to feel that we are correct.

    • Ambiguous shamrock

      Every human being (Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Agnostic, So-called Atheist or Naturalist) is guilty of sin. At first glance, the Ten Commandments look easy to follow. We all first saw them and thought “Yeah, I could do that.” But tell me about one day in which you have successfully accomplished it. God knew from the beginning that we couldn’t be perfect, and he has mercifully left a record, The Holy Bible, to obstinate, ungrateful and undeserving children illustrating the mistakes perpetually made by their forebears. Why would he do this? I see my children making mistakes as a child will do. When they exhibit behavior that will lead them to destruction, I punish them in an attempt to correct them because I love them. Because I love them, I could never chain them up in a basement indefinitely to keep them from hurting themselves or others. By imprisoning them and denying them free will, I would only be creating mindless beasts, and even worse, I would be causing them extreme pain showing myself to be an abhorrent, let alone unjust, Father. The mercy given to ungrateful Children from a Holy, perfectly righteous God is what we “so-called Christians” cherish.

    • Ambiguous shamrock

      I, too, once believed that truth was subjective (despite that common assertion being an illogical, self refuting statement that claims absolute objectivity). I was an agnostic. However, I would have said that I was an atheist, but I would be a liar because morality itself proves the existence of a morally perfect being. Who else but a morally perfect being could have set the standard for moral perfection, a standard to which our “human” consciences testify. God doesn’t take delight in the suffering or death of those who will not love him, but he will not forsake his righteousness either (or else he wouldn’t be perfect) God’s Salvation (literally “Yeshua,” Jesus in Greek) did not throw pearls before swine; rather, he offered life to those who recognized its absence and to those, who in doing so, would humbly request it. As for me, I will explain my faith to anyone willing to listen, but let’s get one thing straight: I will not force my beliefs on anyone. Choose this day whom you will serve; as for me, I will serve the Everlasting God. He alone has proven himself time and time again by telling the ending from the beginning, among other things. If you sincerely search, abandoning all presupposition, you will find truth.

      • idahomtber920

        How the hell does the existence of ‘morality’, whatever you define it as, prove the existence of a ‘morally perfect’ being? If anything, the fact that morality if variable and differs from culture to culture suggests that it is purely a human construct.

  • Tom in Haiti

    And people wonder why this country is falling apart (turning from God). Time to remove the “In God we Trust” from everything longer applies.

    • Sonny William Kawalsingh

      Sounds good to me.

      The country has been falling apart for awhile and so called “turning away” from an invisible sky deity has nothing to do with it my feeble minded friend.

      • turnerdog56

        If they’d all just pray in the damn closet like jeebus told’em to we’d all be better off.

    • Mjd

      I am always surprised by this argument about god in our government, and the association of god to the founding fathers.
      “In God we trust” was put on our money way after the 1700’s. “Under God, with Liberty for all” was introduced in the 40’s.
      The other item of interest is in the efficacy of prayer itself. Obviously, we must trust in god on our currency because the dollar is worth crap now. Also, Christians shoving god in every bodies face kind of goes against “with Liberty for all.”
      Yes, I suggest theists read their history. I don’t know what to do about their attempt to make the entire Nation Christian? As I’ve always said, the neoconservatives want a smaller government for themselves, not for the masses.

  • AntieQ

    The Constitution says that the government can’t play favorites with religions. Christian prayers are fine as long as the Pagans, Wiccans, Satanists, and Pastafarians are granted equal time!

    • squeak

      Who has that much time? Let’s just dispense with all of the prayers. That’s what I call fine.

    • Skylar

      That’s not AT ALL what the Constitution says. Have you even read it? Here, I’ll save you the effort:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; […]

      This has nothing to do with a law being created, but it DOES involve people trying to prevent this person from the free exercise of her religious beliefs.

      Now, there is an argument to be made that this is perhaps INAPPROPRIATE, but it certainly is NOT unconstitutional.

      • Randy Gerber

        However, no one should waste the public’s time with any kind of prayer when in a mixed group performing public duties. Whether legally sanctioned or not, it IS “respecting an establishment of religion” – we should care to disagree!

        • Skylar

          I can agree with the sentiment that this is inappropriate, but I draw the line when people start perverting the Constitution in an attempt to force their own views on others. I would also not support the idea that RESTRICTING her ability to say a prayer in this setting is unconstitutional. The Constitution simply doesn’t register on this topic, and any claim to the contrary is incorrect.

          • Oldfart

            Because….You say so? lol.

          • Skylar

            Because the founders say so. lol.

        • Marisa Totten

          This is quite clearly an exampel of an interaction between two people. Not of government officials conducting the people’s business. It’s plain as daylight.

          Religious speech is NOT an an infringement on rights, but the government has no leave to speak on religious matters or engage in religius rites, one of which is a prayer. Again, plain as daylight.
          I will not answer your challenge because it’s not part of this discussion. This discussion centers around government officials, not the rights of indvidual citizens to pray in public. No one argues that citizens may pray in public. No one argues that a person employed by the government cannot pray in public. But “in public” and “while conducting the people’s business” are NOT the same thing. Again, plain as daylight.

        • Guest

          You have to have a loose definition of “establishment” in order to qualify speech as legally binding. We don’t disagree that this was inappropriate, but it is BY NO MEANS unconstitutional.

        • Randy Gerber

          My statement is rather qualified – I agree with it totally. People go to church or their personal spots or public spots and pray. It’s the same as when I see a gay couple kiss; it’s their right. No governmental function should allot time for prayer, especially vocalized prayer, there is secular business to be done. Any individual’s “religious faith” will have a bearing on their contribution to the function. See?

      • jason

        Skylar, you seem to be focusing on the latter portion of the statement, rather than the former.

        • Skylar

          Because the former doesn’t apply here. No law is being drafted that establishes a religion or infringes on the religious rights of others. They’re actually the same statement, and apply to federal legislation, not local governmental practice.

      • Marisa Totten

        Sorry, but you are the one most in error. In her capacity as county commissioner, Frazier ceases to be just a citizen, and becomes the government. As a representative of the government, she is temporarily prohibited from establishing a religion (praying to a specific god) and forcing others to join her prayer. This is the same reason why teachers in public schools may not lead prayer, but individual students are more than allowed to pray. Once she removes her mantle as county commissioner, Frazier can pray to any god she chooses, BY HERSELF, and whomever chooses to join her is very much allowed, when her audience is no longer held captive.
        Perhaps you should read Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which he instructs in the proper interpretation of the 1st amendment.

        • mamada

          wonderful reply.

        • Skylar

          I don’t suppose you’ve read that letter either:

          “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between
          Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or
          his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions
          only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that
          act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature
          should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
          prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of
          separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of
          the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I
          shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments
          which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no
          natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

          The intention of Jefferson in this letter is still debated, although it shouldn’t be given the actions of Jefferson throughout his political career both as President as well as in the Virginia legislature. The idea that a man’s entire history of action involving the importance of religion in society can be changed by the distortion of a single letter is something only a person with an agenda would try to propagate.

          The founders often supported the use of public buildings for religious services, and even recounted instances of government buildings being shared between religions on a weekly rotation.

          Again, I’m not saying this is an appropriate place for her to be doing this, but it certainly is not unconstitutional.

          • Marisa Totten

            Yes I have read the letter, else I’d not have suggested YOU read it. Did you miss the part where Jefferson himself says his intention is to build a wall betwixt church and state? Holding a meeting in a building isn’t quite the same as invoking a god, is it? My point remains the more valid.

            What you need to understand is that it isn’t important THAT the founders were religious. In making that the primary foundation of your argument you remove the founders from their place in history and attempt to make them contemporaries of yourself. What IS important is what they intended for the nation they were building, and that is that this nation be free from theocratic government. After all, they were much closer to even christian theocracies than we are. They were intimately aware of how inclusion of religion prostitutes a government.

          • Skylar

            They were holding MASS in government buildings. If that’s not “invoking a god”, I’m not sure what is…

            Also, you’ll have to point out where Jefferson gives context to the phrase “thus building a wall of
            separation between Church & State”. What YOU have done (and others who support this position) is INFERRED what he meant, even though it CONTRADICTS the rest of Jefferson’s actions in public office.

            Take for instance the letter that Jefferson was actually replying TO:

            “Our ancient charter, together with the laws
            made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at
            the time of our revolution. And such has been our laws and usages, and such
            still are, [so] that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation,
            and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State)
            we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights. And these favors
            we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent
            with the rights of freemen.”

            Jefferson was writing to a group that felt the government was being used to treat their religious exercise as a privilege GRANTED by government, rather than one PROTECTED by government. In the actual context of the exchange, Jefferson was stating that he believed the government was not permitted to prevent or interfere in religious exercise. He DID NOT, IN ANY WAY imply that people who serve in public office abandoned the right to religious speech. Anyone who reads the letter can understand that Jefferson is being supportive of the Danbury Baptists, and agreeing with the supposition they have made.

            Your second paragraph is 100% correct. But you fail to recognize the distinction between the government being prohibited from making POLICY or LAW based on religion, and between trying to restrict the freedom of a person to SPEAK about religion simply because they hold public office. This is tantamount to trying to stop the President from saying “God Bless the United States of America” at the end of a speech. He’s not trying to force YOU to believe in God, he is simply expressing his personal beliefs while also holding public office and performing his official duties.

          • Marisa Totten

            Before the Constitution the colonies were each governed by a religiously preferential system of government. As it was a time relatively early in the formation of protestantism, baptists were fairly new to the protestant scene. During this period of time, preachers of various denomination would routinely preach in the streets to gather congregants. In most state, baptists were regularly jailed for doing that which most other denominations were doing themselves. The reason Jefferson wrote to the Danbuy baptists was because they were afraid the new federal government, which sat superior to each of the colonies, would elect a protestant sect as the national sect, thus giving it preferntial treatment, and they wrote to him seeking clarification.

            Government officials, oustide their capacity as such, are perfectly welcome to preach. But when they don that mantle of government official, they may not invoke any religion, for doing so is clearly in violation of the first amendment: “that the legitimate powers of government reach actions
            only, & not opinions”. This means that government cannot act to favor one religious opinion over any other; reciting any prayer to any deity does just that. Jefferson would no more have wanted any governmental official to recite prayers from all the known religons than he would have wanted just a prayer to the christian god recited.
            Restricting a person from speaking is not what Jefferson was aiming for. Need proof? Look at all the many houses of worship in this nation. Limitations are placed on almost all of our rights, our rights extend only the point at which the meet another perosn’s rights. Telling a person they cannot invoke god while representing the govenrment is not nearly close to telling a person they cannot invoke god, period, regardless of capacity, is it? It’s very simple: when you represent OUR government no preference toward religion can be displayed. When you are simply a citizen, knock on my door and offer to pray with me. Stop me on the street and ask me to join you in prayer. Pardon yourself at the dinner table and ask if anyone will join you in prayer.

            But you may not begin a meeting of government business by invoking any gods.

          • Skylar

            “In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed
            by the constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have
            therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited
            to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction
            and discipline of state or church authorities acknowledged by the several religious
            societies” -Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address 1805

            If Jefferson was advocating for strict separation of church and state, why would he state that he has “left them under the direction and discipline of state authorities” a full THREE YEARS after the letter to the Danbury Baptists?

            The answer is simple: The founders NEVER intended what you’re advocating, and revisionist history to the contrary is simply doomed to be inaccurate because it simply isn’t true.

            At the end of the day, you’re asking for the government to restrict the rights of people who hold public office from speaking about religion while in an official capacity, based on YOUR personal preference to not HEAR something you disagree with. Restricting the rights of people to say something simply because you don’t want to hear it flies in the face of what the Bill of Rights was written to protect.

          • Marisa Totten

            Please refrain from making assumptions about my aestheic tastes, and I shall do the same with you. Your last paragraph is assumptive of things about me which you do not have adequate information to judge.

            You have seriously misunderstood the meaning of the quote you mined. Jefferson is clearly stating that the State should handle the State’s business and the Church should handle the Church’s business, and the two should not be intermingled.

            “I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and
            prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them, an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these
            exercises and the objects proper for them according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands where the
            Constitution has deposited it … Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.” — Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808.

          • Skylar

            I don’t see how you can confuse the quote I presented and the one you presented. They are one in the same. He supports the people’s right to exercise religion, and opposes government interference in religion, as well as opposing religious interference in policy making.

            Maybe a more clearly applicable quote would be easier for you to understand:

            “But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781

            Jefferson EXPLICITLY states that he does not see religious speech as an infringement of natural rights, and only supports the restriction of rights when they become “injurious to others”.

            If you can answer how you think listening to a differing religious point of view is injurious to others or an infringement on their natural rights, then by all means proceed. Otherwise, the attempt to restrict the speech of others, even in public office, because you do not approve of the content of their speech is NOT CONSISTENT with the Constitution OR the views of the founders. We’re focusing on Jefferson, but this idea was practically universal among the founders.

          • Oldfart

            I have read that quote many times now. Nowhere in that quote does Jefferson discuss religious speech by government representatives as part of their office.

          • Skylar

            Where in that quote do you get the impression that he OPPOSES such speech? You’re operating from a position that only what the government approves of is allowed. In America, everything that is not specifically prohibited by law or conscience is allowed. We are a nation of laws, not of men. We do not restrict the rights of people to speak in order to protect others from offense, regardless of office held. Period.

          • Oldfart

            I’m sorry, Skylar. You obviously belong in another country such as Iran or Greece where they have a state religion. Here, in America, the Government is not allowed to prefer one religion over another nor are representatives of the government allowed to prefer one religion over another when acting in their capacity as a government representative. There is plenty of law backing my position on this. You are swimming upstrean. You should move.

          • Skylar

            Even in your response you touch on the important aspect of your mistake: “law”. Free speech is protected. ONLY the creation of LAW or PUBLIC POLICY based on religion is prohibited. There is ZERO basis for assuming that the Bill of Rights used the EXACT SAME SENTENCE to both PROTECT free speech as well as RESTRICT IT on the basis of public office.

            I want you to explain to me how SPEAKING about religion IN ANY WAY infringes on your rights. Without ACTION, you are affected only as far as you are PERSONALLY OFFENDED.

            At the end of nearly every speech made by the President, he says “God bless America”. If your assertion were true, that would not be allowed. The oath of office taken by government officials finishes with the phrase “so help me God”. If your assertion were true, that would not be allowed.

            If ANYONE should leave the country, it should be those who stand AGAINST the Constitution and support the idea of RESTRICTING INDIVIDUAL SPEECH in violation of the Natural Rights of ALL people, regardless of occupation or public station.

          • wolftimber

            City and Govt public business meetings and the like are NO PLACE for prayers or religious garbage!

          • Skylar

            I agree, but it’s not unconstitutional. Period.

          • Matt Davis

            The example you gave is wrong. Ceremonial Deism is allowed in government speech, so they can say god. Not jesus or allah or Vishnu, or any specific god, though. I don’t like the way Ceremonial Deism has been distorted to promote monotheism in the Pledge and Motto, and it’s not an idea I’m keen on in general but unfortunately it’s allowed thanks to the SCOTUS.

          • Skylar

            You’re confusing speech with law. Government officials can say whatever they want (no matter how ill advised), but they can not legislate based on religion. That doesn’t protect them from being voted out of office, but it is by no means prohibited by the Constitution.

          • Matt Davis

            The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution to mean only non-denominational prayers consistently the same way since the early 60s. Reams of jurisprudence disagrees with your interpretation.

          • Skylar

            Is it your assertion that the Supreme Court never rules in favor of unconstitutional actions?

            Jefferson is always a great source for countering revisionist historians, so I’ll let him explain it:

            “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.” –

            Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom – 1777

          • Matt Davis

            No, of course all courts make mistakes from time to time, but this is a clear pattern of jurisprudence for over half a century. Bearing in mind how much society has changed in that time, their interpretation has been remarkably consistent. Also when you remember how much more Christian society used to be, it’s not surprising that ignoring the law in Christianity’s favour used to happen much more with impunity in the past.

          • Skylar

            I submit to you that it’s been a FULL century of judicial overreach, and that allowing a precedent to stand, contrary to natural rights and founding principals simply because “that’s how it’s been for 50 years” is NOT valid reasoning.

            That said, what you are asserting is NOT true, as the only restrictions of free speech I’ve seen from SCOTUS relate to SCHOOLS, not to public speech by public officials. I tried looking for a SCOTUS case that applied to public officials or government in general, but was unable to find any. Would you happen to have one I could look at, that supports your claim?

          • Deanjay1961

            How about Madison, aka, ‘The Father of the Constitution’: “The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an

            associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and

            performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number,

            the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the

            devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the

            total separation of the church from the State.” (Letter to

            Robert Walsh, Mar. 2, 1819).

          • RM

            and lets not forget, there were greedy, money grubbing and baby raping pedo priests and in-the-closet priests and bishops and cardinals even back then, as there are now. Wholly BS!

          • Skylar

            Not sure if you missed the difference between “Separation of church and state” as a basis for legislation, and using it as a distortion to restrict free speech. Separation of church and state was SPECIFICALLY a reference to the English empire, in which offices in the federal government were held by religious officials. The founders wished to keep religion out of LAW, not to restrict the rights of the people to speak freely, even if elected to public office.

          • Deanjay1961

            It’s the reason I keep bringing up the 14th Amendment up, which requires state and local government to abide by the Constitution, not to mention the case law. That freedom of speech and freedom of religion implies one has free access to a podium at government proceedings to promote your religious views in one’s capacity as a government official is a fantasy, else anyone not having such access would be deprived of their rights.

          • Skylar

            That argument makes LITERALLY no sense. Your argument is akin to removing free speech from movies and television, because it gives the speaker a large podium from which to speak about their personal beliefs. It just doesn’t fly. If you’re upset because your councilperson is talking about Jesus, run against them and get yourself elected, and speak about what YOU want. Regardless of your personal feelings about religion, NOTHING in the Constitution prevents free speech from individuals in ANY capacity. It ONLY prevents the CREATION OF LAWS and by extension PUBLIC POLICY that establishes or prefers one religion over another.

      • Jason

        I pulled this from an old article, your interpretation is possibly wrong (seems to be hotly debated)
        The first amendment to the Constitution also prohibits the government from “establishing” any religion. The meaning of “establishment” is hotly debated and some insist that it merely means that the government can’t create a national religion. This reading is too narrow and would make the clause all but meaningless. To have relevance, it must mean that the government can’t favor, endorse, promote, or support any religions just as it can’t hinder any: it must remain as neutral as possible.

        • Skylar

          Yes, you’re correct. The federal government can’t create laws that give preferential treatment to any religious group, or restrict the rights of any group to practice religion freely. It’s not strictly the establishment of a national religion, though it is ALSO that.

          The Constitution simply isn’t at issue here is my point. If she were making a law requiring people to pray, then yes, it’s a Constitutional issue. That is not the case here.

          By all means, let’s discuss how socially acceptable this is. But let’s not start perverting the intent of the Constitution to suit an agenda. And the intent of the Constitution was NOT to PREVENT the exercise of religion by people who hold public office.

          • Case Hawkes

            You’re about as bad as the sola scriptura Evangelicals when it comes to pushing your personal interpretation of the Constitution as the only valid one. Supreme Court case law disagrees that the Constitution is not at issue when a government official, in their role as an agent of the State, performs or causes to be performed a religious act. You also claim that the Constitution is being “perverted” because you have taken a position based on, what, one letter from Jefferson, and your personal belief that only statutory acts are equivalent to the kind of religious entanglement or compulsion that both Jefferson and Madison spoke against in their time. I should remind you that Madison believed that the appointment of Congressional chaplains was in violation of the Constitution, and that such should be retained by private stipend by the members of Congress, which speaks to the idea that even in those early days it was thought by the men who drafted that very Amendment that government officials should not be engaged in religious acts when acting as agents of the State, or at the very least should not be using tax revenue to fund such acts. Your understanding of the Establishment Clause is terribly narrow, based on your own personal interpretations – and possibly with a good dollop of what people have told you to think the Founders “really” meant – with little regard for the historical context surrounding the authorship of the First Amendment or their later statements regarding it. In the same way that the sola scriptura movement has perverted the message of the Bible by divorcing it from its time and refusing to consider that their interpretations are not in line with those of the authors, you yourself are attempting to pervert the intent of the Constitution by limiting it only to what you have determined the meaning of the text, standing alone, to be.

          • Skylar

            It’s not MY interpretation of the Constitution, it’s the interpretation of the people who WROTE it. Your problem is you take the word of LAWYERS from the 20th century over the words of the people who WROTE the Constitution. I’m well aware of Constitutional law, and how many BLATANTLY unconstitutional actions they have approved of, with the ACA being a BRILLIANT recent example.

            You’re also confusing the issue of religious OFFICE and religious SPEECH. It IS unconstitutional, as originally intended, for Congressional Chaplains to be appointed. The intent was to keep representatives of religion OUT of the government, NOT to prevent individuals elected to public office from exercising a right to free speech, even if religious in nature.

            There are COUNTLESS writings from the founders expressing support for religious people holding public office, while restricting their ability to exercise legislative authority based on religion. They can SPEAK about religion, they “shall make no law” about religion.

            It’s a simple and clear distinction.

          • Marisa Totten

            It’s very simple, had she bowed her head and prayed silently as proceedings went on about her there’d be no discussion because there’d be no issue. The Constitution does not prohibit that. It DOES prhobit her from establishing a religious preference by opening the meeting by forcing her captive audience to pray with her.

          • Skylar

            I’m missing the part where she made other people pray with her… unless you consider “listening” to be equated with forcing someone to pray, you’re grasping at straws. And the Constitution DOES have some pretty strong words about what we allow people to SAY in public.

            Once again, you’re reading into the Constitution an intent that NEVER EXISTED. Plain and simple. Nothing in the Constitution is intended to shield people from the religion of others, but rather to allow the free exercise of religion. It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. The founders spoke at length on the topic, and believed the preservation of religious liberty was paramount.

            I have NO idea how you can infer the intent that nobody in public office should be allowed to speak about religion. It happens EVERY DAY in the United States Congress, and EVERY TIME the President speaks in his official capacity.

            The oath taken by ALL federal officials concludes with the phrase “So help me God.” If your assertion were true, this would never have been allowed in the oath, much less persisted to this day. The oath of office is an even worse offender, because it REQUIRES people to say the words, even if they don’t believe in a god.

          • Marisa Totten

            Proceedings are not allowed to begin until after the prayer has taken place. Change that so that the people’s business has begun, and some people over in the corner are praying, and you are right. But that’s not how a “commencement” prayer works, is it?

            You are absolutely right, nothing in the Constitution is designed to sheild people from the religion of others. That’s why there’s a church on every corner. The Constitution prohibits the people’s business from being conducted with religious intent, or proceeding a prayer to any god.
            I never said no one in public office can speak about religion. Do go back and read my comments, which innumerate the ways in which GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS may PRACTICE relgious rites while conducting THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS. Big difference.
            No one is required to say “so help me god”. Indeed, many have not. No one is required to place their hands on a bible either. You need to fact check yourself on that. Do not make the common mistake of confusing commonality with requirement.

          • Skylar

            Going back to where we started, I agree that this behavior was inappropriate. But it IS NOT unconstitutional. Yes, she forced people to wait for the prayer before official business began. Congress does something very similar with prayers before starting a session. It’s not unusual, and is only newsworthy because of the overreaction to it, which actually COULD BE viewed as an unconstitutional attempt to restrict free speech.

          • Marisa Totten

            You’re falling into the trap again of assuming that because a thing has been done before that it’s okay. That is not the case.

          • Skylar

            Not okay. Constitutional. Not everything that is Constitutional is socially acceptable. Being a member of the KKK is Constitutional but not socially acceptable. I’m not arguing that what she did was socially acceptable or professional or appropriate. I’m arguing that she is not prohibited from doing it by the Constitution.

            Our government was not created to keep everyone from being offended or to insulate them from different ideas. If we as a people disagree with the actions of a public official for whatever reason, we are given the ability to remove that official through regular elections or even recalls and special elections. What we CAN NOT do is use the force of government to suppress speech that some individuals deem inappropriate.

          • Marisa Totten

            I don’t know how much more plainly I can say it, but I’ll try again. Sigh. I am not arguing that the Constitution protects people from the opinions of other people. Period. Stop framing your replies to me that way because it betrays you as either a) not understanding your argument well enough to grasp mine, or b) you are not bothering to even read my comments and are assuming I’m saying something you’d rather argue against instead of what I AM saying.

            There is no correlation between the KKK and my argument, or yours.

            If the government were suppressing religious speech, there would be many people jailed for going to church. Again, we aren’t talking about what INDIVIDUALS are allowed to do. We are talking about what the government is allowed to do. And when the government practices any type of religious ritual, it does so in violation of the 1st amendement. It’s not about who’s offended. It’s about what the government is allowed to participate in vis a vis the 1st amendment.

          • Skylar

            I’m addressing SPECIFICALLY the problem with your reasoning. What you’re saying is that a person who holds public office must sacrifice their Constitutionally protected rights when operating in an official capacity. That is a faulty assumption on all accounts.

            Does a person give up the right to free speech when in a council meeting? Does a person give up the Fourth Amendment protection for personal privacy, or the Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination?

            If you agreed that all of those thing WERE restricted when a government official is fulfilling the duties of the office, you’d still be wrong, but at least you would be consistent. The core of the hypocrisy is that you’re singling out ONE part of ONE Amendment and saying that it DOES NOT APPLY, despite there being no special language to support that position, simply because you don’t think it should.

            The simple fact is, as I’ve stated before, that the Constitution protects the right of people to speak freely, no matter what occupation they perform. It ONLY prohibits the ACTION of MAKING or ENFORCING LAW or POLICY based on RELIGION.

          • Marisa Totten

            No, but there are legal consequences to doing so.
            Um . . . hunh?
            How does the government speak? Might that be through individuals, in a specific capcacity as respresentative of the government? That’s the crux of your inability to grasp the proper interpretation of the 1st amendment.
            I think I’m done with this conversation. Have a nice day.

          • Skylar

            There are legal consequences to maintaining First and Fourth Amendment freedoms while in public office? Really? That’s an absurd claim. Short of defamation or incitement to violence, there is NO legal recourse for an exercise of the right to free speech. And there are NEVER legal consequences to protecting your own private property. Unless the “legal consequences” you’re talking about are the ones I mentioned above. Namely ELECTIONS.

            Government speaks through LAW and REGULATION. That’s it. Nothing a politician or representative SAYS is binding on the public in ANY WAY. PERIOD.

            Once again you’ve ignored the fundamental concept of individual liberty. A person’s natural rights are protected IN ALL SITUATIONS and are limited only where ACTION is INJURIOUS to others.

            “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

          • Deanjay1961

            After the Civil War, it was recognized that it was meaningless to restrict the Bill of Rights as only applying to limit the federal legislature, so we passed a little thing called the 14th Amendment that holds state and local officials to the Constitution as well.

          • Skylar

            “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”

            Nothing about the 14th Amendment specifies that a government official loses the 1st Amendment right to free speech. It extends the restriction that they can’t make religious LAWS.

          • Deanjay1961

            Yes, one can’t have unrestricted free speech and religious practice as a public official because it’s individuals who have those rights and not the government, and it is meaningless to have restrictions on the power of the government that do not apply to government officials acting in their capacity as representatives of the government.

          • Skylar

            The government is nothing but a collection of elected individuals. The idea that you give up your individual liberty because you are elected doesn’t mesh with ANY statement made by the founders, but conflicts with MANY. If an official doesn’t surrender 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th or 9th Amendment rights when appointed or elected, how can you assert that they surrender the 1st Amendment right to free speech? The 1st Amendment protects against INSTITUTIONAL religion, not PERSONAL speech.

          • Deanjay1961

            You don’t give up your individual liberty…you don’t gain the EXTRA liberty not available to other citizens of using government time, resources, and authority on behalf of your personal religious views.

          • Skylar

            A wider audience is not EXTRA liberty. As I stated above, this is akin to advocating for removing free speech from television and movies, because it gives those people an unfairly large audience, or as you would call it “EXTRA liberty”.

          • Deanjay1961

            Good thing I didn’t mention a wider audience then. I mentioned taxpayer funded resources and government authority. If you can get people to pay for your TV ad, more power to you, it’s not the same thing as grabbing the podium for religious purposes at an official government meeting intended for the conduct of public business.

          • randysmatters

            Skylar, i am unable to determine your true concern here. Are you defining/defending the constitution or her religious belief? Do tell me honestly how you would feel if you were present and she ahd opened with an Islamic prayer?

          • Skylar

            I’m not defining the Constitution, the founders did a wonderful job of that. I AM defending the Constitution, because it defends the people. I don’t care what her religious beliefs are, I care about her ability to speak freely. I would not mind at all if she opened with an Islamic prayer, because I’m not scared that by simply hearing a prayer that I’ll suddenly become brainwashed or magically be discriminated against.

            Listening to diverse perspectives is the path to knowledge, not to discrimination.

          • Deanjay1961

            Your free speech rights don’t entitle you to a taxpayer funded podium, microphone, and captive audience.

          • Skylar

            Yes they do. And the recourse of the people to get rid of people who abuse a podium to speak about issues they disagree with (spying, abortion, high taxation, deficit spending, religion) is by throwing them out of office.

            Public officials, notably the President, use their position to further personal opinions EVERY DAY. It’s often despicable, occasionally commendable, and ALWAYS Constitutional.

          • Deanjay1961

            One of these topics (spying, abortion, high taxation, deficit spending, religion) is not like the others, Constitutionally speaking.

          • Skylar

            EVERY topic falls under the blanket of “free speech”. Once you start to define which kinds of speech are acceptable in specific situations, you journey down the road to tyranny.

            LAWS on the other hand, can be restricted in scope by the Constitution.

            The Bill of Rights protects the Natural Right of individuals to speak freely, and prevents them from being subject to LAWS that would attempt to restrict that speech. The idea that the same sentence that protects individual speech ALSO secretly restricts it once you reach public office is so absurd as to be laughable.

          • Deanjay1961

            Your inability to comprehend that a government official acting in their capacity as a public official can’t say all the same things they can in their capacity as a private citizen is pretty absurd, but it’s not funny.
            Every topic, huh? What about state secrets? Private health information? Disclosing the names and home addresses of undercover police officers?
            And that’s without even getting into the speech restrictions on military personnel, which includes not attending protests in uniform and not publicly defaming the president of the USA.
            You being clueless about the speech of government officials having restrictions on what they can say in their official capacities doesn’t make it a secret.

          • Skylar

            All of the “exceptions” you provided are denied to non-government officials as well, making your argument moot. You’re literally taking the ENTIRE First Amendment, picking ONE part of it, and making an exception that IS NOT SUPPORTED BY ANY FOUNDING DOCUMENT based on your own personal opinion. And you accuse me of having troubles with comprehension?

            Once again, I’ll let Jefferson explain it:

            “Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1777


            They can profess personal religion and it does not enlarge or diminish civil capacities. Doesn’t get much more clear cut.

          • Deanjay1961

            So what I’m hearing you say is that it’s not actually true that every topic falls under the blanket of free speech. Glad we can agree on something.
            I’m actually picking two parts of the 1st Amendment and remembering the 14th Amendment: the freedom of private citizens to free speech and practice of their religion vs. the limitation on government establishment or disestablishment of religion and the 14th Amendment requirement that state and local government not engage in discriminatory practices. And I’m not forgetting the established case law. The Constitution is the beginning of our law, not the end of it. You won’t find the words ‘right to a fair trial’, ‘right to vote’ or ‘right to establish speed limits’ in the Constitution, that doesn’t mean having those things is unConstitutional.
            The all caps would be more impressive if the civil capacities being referred to weren’t those of any private citizen, such as voting or speaking up in a town meeting. The phrase clearly refers to ‘all men’ and isn’t talking about government employees acting in their capacity as representatives of the government. However, even assuming it was, it’s not 1777 anymore, or the 1950s. When the population was 95% Christian, you didn’t really have to worry about intimidating or disenfranchising nonChristians, they were a negligible minority. Today, when the population is 70% Christian and sinking fast, the effect of giving Christians disproportionate access to governmental means of promoting and advertising their religion (which the courts take to be establishing it) is more clearly unjust, though it was never just to treat minority religions as completely ignorable.
            Of course they can profess their personal relgiion, that’s what free exercise means. But when they’re acting in their official rather than their personal capacity, they are speaking with the voice of the government, and the government isn’t allowed to promote or discourage a particular religion, it is limited to ‘ceremonial deism’. If she’s stuck with ‘God’, she’d have a case, but she insisted on dragging Jesus into it.
            But have it your way, which is the worst thing that could happen to religion in America: every official can say whatever they want as long as it’s about their religion. I can’t think of a better way to turn people off of religion than to make public life into a dueling prayers circus: ’cause if Christians get to do it, everyone gets to do it. I don’t see how that doesn’t end well for atheists.

          • Skylar

            The problem with your position (which I don’t disagree, as I’ve said, that her actions are inappropriate) is that NOTHING you claim is supported by the Constitution or the founding documents. You are attacking Christianity here, but this applies to ALL religious speech, not just Christian.

            The foundational problem you refuse to understand is that SPEECH IS NOT ACTION. SAYING something DOES NOT constitute an INFRINGEMENT OF LIBERTY. Nobody was harmed by listening to a prayer, and therefore no natural right has been violated by the government.

            If you want to look at it from a legal perspective, to support the position that this is unconstitutional, you would have to establish a plaintiff that can demonstrate that they were harmed by listening to this prayer. No person has legal standing to claim they were harmed simply by listening to words they disagree with, otherwise freedom of speech would cease to exist.

          • Deanjay1961

            If it weren’t debatable, it wouldn’t be before the Court. I’m content to go by the Court’s decision. It’s not like we have a choice. And it’s clear we’re talking past each other, so good luck in all your endeavors, except convincing people you’re right that government officials have an unfettered right to promote their religious views while in their capacity as representatives of the state.

          • Skylar

            If you had ONE SINGLE supporting piece of information from the original intent of the Constitution on this kind of infringement of speech, it might be worth a discussion. That won’t prevent activist court judges from making rulings based on personal opinions as they have done for the last 150 years, resulting in the near complete invalidation of the entire Constitution.

            I will not, however, wish you luck in attempting to restrict the rights of individuals to speak freely, simply because you disagree with what they say. It’s a immoral endeavor and I hope that nobody ever does to you what you’re attempting to do to them.

          • Deanjay1961

            Restricting the power of the government to interfere in religious matters is meaningless if the people acting and speaking on behalf of the government aren’t bound by the same restriction when acting in their official capacity. As you pointed out, government is composed of individuals, if the individuals its made of have no restrictions on their actions, neither does the government.
            I should hope that were I in a position to push my point of view on religious matters using the apparatus of the government, that I would not do it, and that if I did, someone would stop me. I’m perfectly capable of asserting my rights as a citizen without resorting to hijacking public funds and property in the process.
            The court may agree with you. If so, I look forward to enjoying the circus that will eventually follow as the Satanists and Wiccans and Hindus and Muslims assert their equal right to conduct meetings like that when they’re in office and give the Christian Right a collective aneurism. It won’t be immediate, because it’s still hard for relgious minorities to attain public office, but it will come. I’m tired of trying to save antisecularists from themselves.

          • Skylar

            “Restricting the power of the government to interfere in religious matters is meaningless if the people acting and speaking on behalf of the government aren’t bound by the same restriction when acting in their official capacity.”

            SPEECH IS NOT INTERFERENCE IN RELIGIOUS MATTERS!!! How hard is it to understand that SPEECH IS NOT POLICY?

          • RM

            it is an unconstitutional attempt to enforce religious speech and to inculcate religious dogma into the political realm.

          • Skylar

            Wrong. Speaking doesn’t constitute force. You aren’t required to believe anything you hear, which I realize is difficult for many people to understand these days. The issue isn’t the appropriateness of speech, it’s the CONSTITUTIONALITY of speech. The Constitution does not restrict speech, even if you are in government office. Period.

          • RM

            speaking is a form of force. charismatic speakers have the ability to cause people to act, which again is force. The Constitution states that there will be no establishment of religion. The founders did that to protect US against what was (and still is) the entrenchment of british anglican church. The religion of the State was the State religion. Unless you were a member of that church you could not hope to get anywhere politically in England. The same needs to hold true here in the USA. You have a bunch of politicians who are elected not based upon their qualifications that they can do their job well, but rather if they are bible thumping baptists otherwise known as conservative Xians. I do not give a rat’s as5 what a politicians religious viewpoint is. I want to know if they are going to do the job and keep the promises they made on the campaign trail. The current Demander in Thief B. Hussein Oblammo makes a big deal of being seen at church. I would feel much better if he, and all politicians would keep their religious activities private, on their own time. The problem is, is that they do not. Their tacit public endorsement of their religiosity is a default endorsement of religion. I do not care to hear or see that. your politics should not be determined by your desire to follow a delusional belief system. Your belief system should have no place in your political life. The two need to be distinct and separate entities. Otherwise you get a5swipes like Scalia who allow their jurisprudence
            to be colored by their religious views.

          • Skylar

            You lost me at “speaking is a form of force”. That is categorically untrue, and if believed, would justify the COMPLETE REMOVAL of freedom of speech. Obviously this is not the case.

            The founders opposed religious officials holding public office as they did in England. They did NOT oppose public servants exercising free speech.

            Amendment I of the US Constitution:
            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

            CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW. Nowhere does it say, nor does it IMPLY that public officials SHALL MAKE NO SPEECH respecting an establishment of religion.

            The founders DID believe in a method of removing public servants that abuse their position to talk about controversial or unpopular issues. They’re called elections.

          • turnerdog56

            Which one?

          • Deanjay1961

            Yes, having to listen to a public official drone a sectarian prayer because I’m there to do the business of the community is a problem. How am I supposed to trust her to treat me as equal to a Christian when she can’t even keep her Christianity to herself long enough to get through a meeting?

          • Skylar

            If she treats you unfairly, you can have her thrown out of office. What guarantee do you have that a person that DOESN’T speak about religion will treat you as equal? You have NONE. You can only respond to OFFICIAL ACTION. You can’t restrict speech just because you personally disagree, whether it’s about religion or which sports team you support.

      • Deanjay1961

        Explain how her religious freedom necessitates using her public office as a platform for it, please.

        • Skylar

          It does not necessitate it. It allows it. Big difference. We’re talking about individual liberty here, not oppressive legislation. As long as policy isn’t made that restricts religious freedom, free speech is allowed. You are not free from being offended.

          • Deanjay1961

            What tenet of her religion can she not follow if she can’t use her public office as a platform to promote her religion?
            I am free from having public officials abuse their authority in certain ways. It’s not the freakin’ prayer that’s the offensive part, it’s promotion of the idea that the government doesn’t have to be neutral in matters of religion if one of its representatives doesn’t feel like it.

          • Skylar

            It’s NOT her religious freedom that is being protected, it’s her freedom of SPEECH. The subject of free speech DOES NOT MATTER.

            You are NOT free from listening to public officials SAY THINGS that you DISAGREE WITH. Government SPEECH doesn’t have to be secular, but government LAW and POLICY DOES.

            Speech is not law. Period.

      • That person is free to exercise his or her religion. He/she is NOT free to force a captive audience to do it with him/her.

        • Skylar

          Nobody is captive at a voluntary public meeting. And even if they were, nothing in the Constitution protects people from the free speech of others.

          The idea that people have the freedom to speak, but that they can be forced not to speak if the listener disagrees, is so insane that it hardly deserves consideration.

    • No, they are not fine as long as everyone else has equal time. NONE of them are fine.

  • John Smith

    Fine her for contempt of court. Jail time would only portray her another (deluded)
    martyr for other “persecuted” christians to rally behind.

  • skeptic15

    “This might be a good opportunity to demonstrate how our founding fathers, and leaders all throughout our history, have upheld the idea that we are a nation based on biblical principles. We’re one nation under God and I believe that’s where our unalienable rights come from.”
    Unfortunately, this seems to be a mantra of far too many in positions of power. Christian hegemony is far too prevalent and is a real threat to non-Christians, especially non-theists, imo. Church-state separation has been gradually eroded to the point where we now have Congress passing laws favoring monotheism over polytheism and nontheism as well as public buildings with engravings of “In God We Trust ” – our local and federal governments are gradually endorsing monotheism over polytheism and nontheism and the Supreme Court has even let this go – terrible, imo.

  • chuckster2112

    There is but one god….and he is right here on facebook, really. Search him up

  • Mike Marion

    Her action of forcing her beliefs on others simply shows me that this woman has very weak or no faith at all,

    • RM

      typical sheeple. thinking that if she is xian, then everyone else in the room at her meeting is also xian. her major problem is that her praying at an official government function is constitutionality illegal, but also that her bleating to her god paints her as an unworthy sinner. she is a masochist at heart and hopes her baa baa baaing will send her to the slammer, allowing her to pose as a
      pseudo-martyr for her weak minded cause du jour.

  • Lindoro Almaviva

    Disgusting that this woman would do such a thing, and I am a believer. This kind of Christianist ideology has to be stopped and I am glad that Atheists and humanists are finally challenging these privilege and entitlement.

  • Rhett J D.

    Christians would rather lie and spread more false nonsense then be truthful which is a real sham on their religion.

  • Cdb Spender

    A bible thumper lying?

    Is that possible?

  • RM

    excellent article. The founding fathers were deist men, none was a christian. That is the point of the directive of keeping church and State as separate entities. There is no place in politicking for religious nonsense, and religious groups should keep their noses out of politics. That is why churches are tax exempt.

    • Deanjay1961

      Most of them (there were more than 50) were Christian, Jefferson could be considered a ‘Christian deist’ or possibly a Unitarian and Franklin an outright deist at the time, though he became more Christian later in life. It might be more accurate to say that most of the key founding fathers tended to have unconventional religious views and probably wouldn’t be considered Christians by modern evangelicals.

  • Saige Dwerlo

    I do believe “In God We Trust” was brought on by the Communist scare in the 50’s…

    • calciferboheme

      While it was used on coins since the 1800s, that’s 100% why it became the official motto. It’s also why “Under God” is in the pledge of allegiance.

      • Dan

        Absolutely not. While it has appeared on coins since the 1860s, that is hardly the reason why the national motto all of a sudden became “In God We Trust” 190 years later and why “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance at the same time. You’re gonna have to try harder than that.

        Even if that was the reason why, it’s still an example of government establishing a preference for religion when it is not supposed to be AT ALL. I much prefer “E Pluribus Unum” as our national and ONLY motto.

        • calciferboheme

          I like E Pluribus Unum better as well.

          and the red scare is why all of that happened. That’s not really in dispute. In the 50s they went against the communists any way they could. One of the big ones was to grab religion to fight the godless people on the other side.

          I’m not saying it was right, it obviously wasn’t.But it’s still what happened.

  • William Valenti

    No man’s god owns the Golden Rule. I am beyond weary of religious peacocks strutting about shouting their prayers for all to hear, and seeking to impose their magical thinking in the public square. Freedom from religion is no less important than freedom of religion.

  • Ronald Ventola

    “Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

    • turnerdog56

      Right on.

  • XaurreauX Pont DeLac

    Secularism is for grownups.

  • Dennis

    I wonder how confortable Robín Frazier world be if a Muslím, Jewish, Hindú or atheist proclamation were read. Is America still filled with such immature people who believe that they must defend their deity?

  • RM

    and here is a fun cartoon to lighten up the talk in the room!

  • kanawah

    Agree 100% with the whole article.
    Washington, along with most of the other founders was not a christian or even religious person.
    If you research the writings of the founders, particularly Jefferson and Adams, it indicates they were deist or atheist, but definitely not christian.

  • Jim Stovall

    It is a great irony that she who would say, “Thine Unworthy Servant” would boast like hell when running for office!

  • James Lehman

    As an imperfect human, I will accept help from any source, be it supernatural or otherwise. Pray to whatever God or pasterfarian being you please, not a problem.

  • RolandoP

    mr Fred Edwards George Washington did wrote that prayer just like Abraham Lincoln and even Benjamin Franklin qoute from the bible & he wasn’t even a believer so friend I really urge you to really dig in deeper to your history