At about the same time several police chaplains lost their jobs for praying “in Jesus name” in Virginia. The Virginia Senate’s Justice Committee voted along party lines to kill a bill which would have restored the rights of Virginia State Police chaplains to pray publicly “in Jesus’ name.”
These developments about a year ago delighted humanist Greg Epstein who said he is building “a God-free model of community” that he hopes helps humanists increase in numbers and influence. Epstein says an increasing number of people have no religion, an apparent reference to the latest American Religious Identification Survey which claims 15 percent of respondents in 2008 said they had no religion, nearly twice the number of 1990.
“There is a broader acceptance of those with no faith, as indicated by President Barack Obama’s mention of non-believers in his inaugural address,” Epstein told reporters. “There are so many millions of people out there who basically share our views, that we’ve got room for everybody. What we’re doing here at Harvard University has got to grow even more.”
Clergy who open the Indiana House of Representatives in prayer have been forbidden to pray in Jesus’ name, according to the Indianapolis Star. Judge David Hamilton has required “any person chosen to give the invocation be instructed it must not advance any one faith or be used in bid to convert listeners.” Judge Hamilton’s ruling included the prohibition of invokers praying in Jesus’ name.
Does prohibiting Christians from praying in Jesus’ name violate the “free exercise” clause of the Constitution of the United States?
The Constitution prohibits any law that blocks the “free exercise” of religion, however, increasingly Christians are told that prayers must be generic and inoffensive to citizens with differing religious or secular views.
Forbidding Christians to pray in Jesus’ name violates our guarantees of free speech in the Bill of Rights.
Prohibiting Christians from praying in Jesus’ name also violates the authority of Almighty God. The reason we pray in Jesus’ name is because the Word of God instructs us to do so. If we do not pray in Jesus’ name, we ignore the very Word of God that we believe and teach.
In the early church, the apostles were commanded not to teach in that “name” (Acts 5:27, 28). To which they responded, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Praying in the name of Jesus is prevalent throughout the New Testament. Wonderful works were done in His name (Acts 3:6). Eternal salvation comes through His name (Acts 4:12).
Men have access to the very throne of God and receive promises of answered prayer through His name (John 14:13, 14; 15:16; 16:23, 24).
Therefore to deny Christian ministers the right to pray in Jesus’ name is to cause them to disobey the teachings of God’s Word.
The apostle Peter gave encouragement to believers facing similar persecution in his day. He writes, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:14).
Want to read more? CLICK HERE to read whether faith in Jesus is just too shocking for the news media to handle.
CLICK HERE to consider more about why the media is offended by people of faith
To read “Why do they want to censor Jesus?” CLICK HERE
Is Jesus an illegal word that cannot be uttered in public anymore? CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE to read about recent legal efforts to ban church bells
And CLICK HERE to consider a British journalist’s concern that Christianity is becoming criminalized in Western society.