Beliefnet
Feiler Faster

As readers of the blogosphere know, it’s common parlance for bloggers to refer to the sites and sitemasters that host them as “overlords,” as in “we’re the humble lieges, they are the powerful overlords, and we just slave away for pittance while they grow fat on our backs.” As someone who just moved my blog to one such Big, Powerful Platform, I hadn’t yet understood this feeling before this weekend, when I receive an email from the Prince of Beliefnet Himself. The knees knock, the fingers go wobbly, as one clicks open the email to see whether I have been summoned to the principal’s office or sent a few crumbs from the feast.
It was a link to this article.

A conservative Idaho lawmaker believes America’s founding fathers would not have wanted a Muslim elected to Congress or a Hindu prayer delivered in the U.S. Senate.
Last month, the U.S. Senate was opened for the first time ever with a Hindu prayer. Although the event generated little outrage on Capitol Hill, Representative Bill Sali (R-Idaho) is one member of Congress who believes the prayer should have never been allowed.
“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali.
Sali says America was built on Christian principles that were derived from scripture. He also says the only way the United States has been allowed to exist in a world that is so hostile to Christian principles is through “the protective hand of God.”
“You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike,” says the Idaho Republican.
According to Congressman Sali, the only way the U.S. can continue to survive is under that protective hand of God. He states when a Hindu prayer is offered, “that’s a different god” and that it “creates problems for the longevity of this country.”

As it happens, at the time I clicked on this article, I had open on my screen George Wasington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, six months after he was sworn in as president. I’m working on a book about the Bible in America and I was exploring his understanding of Providence. Washington, I believe, clearly related to the God of the Bible, but his was largely the God of the Hebrew Bible, not the New Testament, he wasn’t particularly Christian in any way. Leaving aside, for the moment, the other founding fathers, it’s clear from his writing that he also understood even in the first months of the Constitution that the strength of America would come, in part, from the legal freedom to respect other religions that had been enshrined in the Constitution.

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

Boy the Prince has good story sense. No wonder he’s an overlord.

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