When Faith and Culture Does Not Clash
July 18, 2010
Larry Menyweather-Woods — The Examiner
One of the oldest questions which remain first on the American agenda since the birth of the American experiment is what is the role of faith in the New Republic? The United States Constitution pursuant to the Fifth Article of the original Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances (Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume 2, p. 939). Ratification of the article over 150 years past remains a most simple but controversial part of the American experiment which brings derision in our Nation.
The State of North Carolina joined the circle which closes the imagination and throws gasoline on the fire by adding “make-up rules” prohibiting a religious group from exercising their Constitutional let alone theological right in a public assembly they have been invited to share faith with culture. The Constitutional article is quite clear on two points: (1) faith, and not just acknowledged “institutional” faith, but personal faith, cannot be prohibited by the Federal or State government; and, (2) all beliefs, should be or ought to be acknowledged, recognized, even those who are agnostic, atheists, deists, whatever faith one holds too, real or perceived.
Praying in Jesus’ name has been successfully outlawed by several States, but many of those same States who had previously granted permission to ban, e. g., Pennsylvania, , Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, California, and Virginia, have since had the bans overturned (Christian Newswire (2010 July 13). Jesus banned from prayers by North Carolina Speaker of the House). The person who orchestrated this new major to restore to people of faith and non faith is former Navy Chaplain, Gordon James Klingenschmitt, founder and leader of The Pray in Jesus Name Project. His purpose is simple, restoration of Constitutional and God-given rights of the first Amendment fore stated earlier in this article guaranteeing neither the State nor Federal government prohibit the free exercise of religion, regardless of what that belief is or fits in the grand scheme of the American political agenda (http://www.prayinJesusname.org).
Speaking with Pastor Klingenschmitt through the technology of Skype, I was impressed by his sincerity and the personal sacrifice he made not to make a “name” for himself, but a sacrifice if not supported by his family would have allowed Satan to destroy his courage, determination, and true patriotism manifested by his willingness to put his faith and commitment to the Kingdom of God ahead of self-protection over something which many would be of little significance in the cultural wars we are engaged which characterizes the faith as a true sign of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer considered the sign of “cheap grace” in Cost of Discipleship. His struggle impacts all who believe regardless of being a person of traditional faith or no faith. Putting in the terms who really the derisions of the Constitution, if Pastor Klingenschmitt, whose commitment to the Kingdom has resulted in severe lost and many who proclaim to be doing the same thing But whose action create the rift between faith and culture (e.g., writings on Christian Newswire with misinformation or misleading information, Christian groups who have missed the point of the First Amendment being for all religions and not selective few.)
Pastor Klingenschmitt is a man of faith, and the work started within him is worthy for believers and non believers to support (http://www.prayinjesusname.org) is worthy of support.
Though I have often disagreed, this is one matter, when administered fairly, brings equality to a society, a culture, which stands diametrically-opposite and causing severe problems society. Sign the petition found on the web site http://www.prayinjesusname.org so that all may be expressions of the republic nature of a democratic society. The Church has always led the way, let us all, warriors of our different faiths, and manifest the true spirit which has not been revised by revisionist personalities who believe in making the truth a lie. By agreeing with the petition will that take away one’s freedom, NO! It is the exercise of the freedom, God-granted, constitutionally determined words of the First Amendment. When I was growing up in this Nation during the era of Jim Crow, I heard words and saw improper use of the Constitution and saw the horrendous action of a silent Church who when awaken spoke truth to power!