The ACLU has been livid that Texas Republican governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry will headline a “Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis” on August 6 in a football stadium in Houston, observes author Cal Thomas in World magazine.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Perry by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation opposing his participation in the prayer rally. The lawsuit asked the judge to declare Mr. Perry’s involvement in the event unconstitutional, reports the New York Times. It was dismissed on the grounds that the Wisconsin atheists had no standing — they were not harmed — by the Texas governor’s prayer plans.
Odd, isn’t observes Thomas, that the same people are strangely silent when President Obama uses the White House to meet with a group of liberal Christian leaders.
What’s the difference?
“Liberals aren’t against prayer, so long as it advances a secular earthly agenda,” writes Thomas. “While wringing their hands and even threatening legal action against the August 6 gathering (the prohibition of which would violate the freedom of assembly, as well as the free exercise of religion clauses of the First Amendment), the ACLU of Texas and its fellow ideological travelers have said nothing about another prayer meeting that took place last week in the White House.”
Thomas describes the prayer session in which President Obama hosted 11 liberal Christian leaders, including Jim Wallis of the liberal Christian magazine Sojourners. Wallis then wrote about how President Obama mentioned a passage from Matthew 25 where Jesus is talking about “inasmuch as you’ve done it unto the least of these, you’ve done it also unto me.”
Thomas wryly notes:
There is no indication that Jesus commanded government to be the primary caregiver for the poor. His commission was for those who followed Him to do it, because His objective was not only to fill empty stomachs, but also to fill empty souls. The debate about the role of government vs. the role of the church has long been a tension point between conservatives and liberals in religious circles.
If this had been a prayer meeting hosted by conservative evangelical leaders with President George W. Bush in attendance and the prayers were about conservative social policies, one can safely predict how liberals would have reacted. But since this was about maintaining government spending for social programs favored by liberals, these prayers were no problem for them.