For many weeks now the Hamilton County Commission has been subjected to a weekly series of complaints objecting to prayers at Commission meetings. The complaints are never accompanied by evidence and are always communicated just like any sincere, deeply held religious beliefs.
The complaints primarily focus on three core beliefs:
1. Complainants believe the use of the name “Christ” is offensive.
2. Complainants believe their anti-Christ beliefs are superior to other beliefs.
3. Complainants believe moments of silence are superior to oral beliefs.
The complainants have formally submitted their beliefs, but no evidence, to the local U.S. Federal Court. The federal civil court has scheduled a hearing for July 26 to hear the beliefs of all sides. Without evidence it's a judicial religious Inquisition.
Civil Courts should use evidence, and not beliefs, as the basis for judicial action. The beliefs of unelected judges are not superior to the beliefs of elected officials.
All actions ever taken by the Hamilton County Commission, or any other legislative body, are beliefs of elected public officials who can be removed from office in an election and replaced by others who can enact different beliefs. But the anti-Christ believers don’t want legislative beliefs to be subject to the will of the electorate. They want their beliefs to permanently monopolize future legislative activity. That’s why they ask, without any evidence, the Federal Court to order the Hamilton County Commission to forever follow judicially mandated anti-Christ beliefs.
The outcomes of civil court cases are supposed to be determined by the preponderance of the evidence. Unfortunately, courts often act without any evidence to choose some beliefs over other beliefs.
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Courts do not exist to rule on beliefs (such as religious ideologies). They exist to consider, apply, and judge based upon the rule of law. If one refuses to accept or understand the separation of church and state, he/she shall never understand or accept our judicial system. This judge has ruled properly and I hope will continue to do so.
The best thing the pro-Christian prayer complainants can do is learn how to separate their religious ideology from application of the laws embedded in our democracy....including the freedom to worship. Those laws guarantee the same freedom to other religions. The courthouse, where public servants are paid by the taxpayers to conduct required government business, is not the place to interfere with that business by attempting to forcefully place the Christian religious ideology (prayer) before agenda items, other religions, the rule of law, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, or our democracy. If one refuses to accept that, then perhaps he/she should shop around for a better country. Good luck with that.
Further, if one truly is dedicated to prayer, it is not forbidden 24/7 while one is alone enjoying breakfast, driving to work, having lunch at a public venue, or enjoying life in the great outdoors or anywhere else anywhere in the world. That is where prayer comes willingly and straight from the heart....alone and in silence. At least that is my experience. And it is a simple solution to the current charade that is tearing away at the dignity and due respect many throughout the world have for the Christian religion. After all, religion is what is in the heart and only we, individually, know what that is.
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With all due respect, Ms. Parton, one should know that Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution provided the creation of the U.S. Office of the Chaplain(s) for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Those Chaplains have lead prayer before every session of the U.S. House and Senate since 1789--some 223 years. The creation of these federal government positions has been constitutionally upheld by the US Supreme Court and the prayers continue to this day. Historically, the introduction of prayer before government meetings began even earlier--in 1774, with the Continental Congress. The moving words and actions of Benjamin Franklin will convince you that our Founding Fathers openly supported a place for prayer withiin our government and in this country's fabric and foundation.
The separation of church and state has absolutely nothing to do with prayer. It would be wonderful if teachers would step up to the plate and clarify it for students. Separation of church and state prevents the US government from mandating that every citizen belong to one specific church, as was the case with the officially established Christian church of England, which denied other denominations and their citizens religious freedom. To my knowledge, there has never been any attempt whatsoever at Hamilton County commission meetings to mandate that we all become Baptists or to mandate religious conversion of any sort. Consequently, there is not now, nor has there ever been, a legitimate reason to scream "separation of church and state" in an attempt to prevent prayer from occurring at local government meetings or elsewhere.
What have the plaintiffs gained, besides alienating and demoralizing a community, demonstrating that they are intolerant and exclusionary, and are constantly seeking their 15-minutes of fame? They've gained nothing. Absolutely nothing--regardless of who wins the case. Do they honestly believe that have inspired community cohesiveness, enlightenment, generosity of spirit, good will, or respect for others, regardless of their beliefs? Hardly. The fact is that they are a known political anti-religion coalition and have cost Hamilton County taxpayers focus, time, energy, and money, when far more pressing issues confront us than simply saying a prayer before a meeting. A prayer based on the same local historical "tradition and precedent" noted in Supreme Court decisions in support of the U.S. Office of the Chaplains.