Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


The White House Vetting of Prayers

posted by swaldman

The White House is vetting prayers? A great scoop from Dan Gilgoff at US News. On this one I disagree with Obama and agree with Barry Lynn.
This is a great illustration of why Madison said, when in doubt, err on the side of separation. At first blush, what could be wrong with a prayer before an event? Then you realize it’s a presidential event, so you have to be careful nothing crazy gets said. But being careful means, someone has to read the prayers, and before long you have a White House staffer who has the job of approving prayers.



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Charles Cosimano

posted February 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm


Why do I get the image of George C. Scott playing Obama and saying to a preacher, “I want an economy prayer!”



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm


So, prayer at something presidential burns somebody’s eyes and ears? I say, “Good!”



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Gwyddion9

posted February 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm


We’re not a theocracy but you’d never know that by some people.
If a prayer cannot be said without mentioning specific deities, don’t bother.
An admonition can be said, on behalf of all, with out it being tagged by specific religions.
We are not simply one religion in this country, we are many. While I like the idea of asking for my Gods blessings on the prayer and on our country, I realize that some would not feel comfortable with and I’m ok with this thought. I just wish other people would show the same courtesy that they expect of others.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm


==If a prayer cannot be said without mentioning specific deities, don’t bother.==
Is that suggestion, advice, or command?
==An admonition can be said, on behalf of all, with out it being tagged by specific religions.==
Nothing says it must be done that way.
==We are not simply one religion in this country, we are many.==
(Mar 5:8) For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
(Mar 5:9) And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
(Luk 8:28) When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
(Luk 8:29) (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
(Luk 8:30) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
==While I like the idea of asking for my Gods blessings on the prayer and on our country, I realize that some would not feel comfortable with and I’m ok with this thought.==
But they are not concerned that others are offended by THEIR “belief expressions.” And, yet, they want you to be tolerant of theirs.
I understand that there are appropriate times for reaching out. However, I’m not going to let others intimidate me into shrinking from the mission God, through Christ, gave to those who are born again. If I love others biblically, then it’s more important for me to give others the info God says they need for Salvation.
== I just wish other people would show the same courtesy that they expect of others. ==
What you call, “courtesy,” would be an affront to Christ since He told us that He is the ONLY Way to the Father.



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Tim

posted February 25, 2009 at 3:05 pm


I am not sure this vetting business is such a bad idea. The US News article says the White House has not altered the prayers of any of those who were asked to deliver them. Barry Lynn assumes the White House is delving into theology, but I wonder. My guess is the White House is vetting the politics of the prayers, not the theologies. If previous Presidents did not vet prayers (and I am skeptical they did not), perhaps the reason is that they always chose safe pray-ers. Did Bush ever invite a Gene Robinson to offer prayer? Obama clearly is reaching out across the political and theological spectrum. They carries some risk. It would be easy for the minister in Elkhart, for instance, to inject politics into prayer and create a needless culture-war skirmish. If Obama is inviting prayer from across the spectrum, good. If he needs to vet the politics out of prayer, also good.



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Gwyddion9

posted February 25, 2009 at 3:58 pm


“If a prayer cannot be said without mentioning specific deities, don’t bother. Is that suggestion, advice, or command?”
I would consider it a suggestion or an offering of advice. In my religion, Wicca, the only one we seek to command is ourselves.
“An admonition can be said, on behalf of all, with out it being tagged by specific religions. Nothing says it must be done that way.”
True, but that’s the whole idea, I believe the article seeks to get across that others can offer prayers too and it doesn’t have to be “religious” at all, simply an admonition.
“We are not simply one religion in this country, we are many.”
What I said doesn’t have to read into, as you apparently are doing. We are many religions, if you need this to be included, so you know what I was trying to communicate. Everything isn’t always about Christianity…as some would think. If I may add, quoting your Bible doesn’t mean anything to me so I presume you’re quoting it to hear yourself.
“But they are not concerned that others are offended by THEIR “belief expressions. And, yet, they want you to be tolerant of theirs.”
Speaking for my religion, if I may do so, we are concerned about oppressing or offending others with our beliefs. We understand how it feels but also recognize that there are some who really don’t care if they offend others as long as they can do it in the name of their religion.
“I understand that there are appropriate times for reaching out. However, I’m not going to let others intimidate me into shrinking from the mission God, through Christ, gave to those who are born again. If I love others biblically, then it’s more important for me to give others the info God says they need for Salvation.”
I don’t think anyone has, so I’m at a loss as to why you come across with your attitude about your beliefs and religion. Some Christians come across as though their religion is being persecuted but when you look at the facts, most of the country claims to be Christian, so if any real persecution is taking place, it’s being done Christian to Christian.
“I just wish other people would show the same courtesy that they expect of others. What you call, “courtesy,” would be an affront to Christ since He told us that He is the ONLY Way to the Father.”
If you believe this, fine, I don’t. If you choose to take a cavalier approach to religion, and be disrespectful to other faith, that’s fine too but don’t get tied in a knot when others say, I don’t need or want what you offer. It’s too bad, imo, that you feel the need to use your religion, Bible and understanding of God, as a club. Because of this insensibility, you’ll lose opportunities that you otherwise might have shared. If any religion must be forced on others, then, imo, it really isn’t worth the effort, which is why this and for many other reasons, I left Christianity and never looked back.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm


==…others can offer prayers too and it doesn’t have to be “religious” at all, simply an admonition.==
To whom? If to nobody, what’s the point?
“We are not simply one religion in this country, we are many.”
==Everything isn’t always about Christianity…as some would think.==
Everybody, though, seems to be focused on Christianity. That means that it must be effective. Nobody concertrates on what is not effective.
== …quoting your Bible doesn’t mean anything to me so I presume you’re quoting it to hear yourself.==
Somebody out there needs it. If you don’t, somebody does. So, let it by you and let somebody else get it.
==…we are concerned about oppressing or offending others with our beliefs.==
So, in YOUR view, merely expressing equal “oppressing” and “offending”?
== We understand how it feels but also recognize that there are some who really don’t care if they offend others as long as they can do it in the name of their religion. ==
Those who are born again are commanded to spread the Word. Complaints should be addressed to:
God
c/o Christ
Heaven
or Christ@God.Hvn
==…I’m at a loss as to why you come across with your attitude about your beliefs and religion.==
Well, it’s explain in the Word of God.
== Some Christians come across as though their religion is being persecuted…==
Christianity isn’t a “religion.” It’s a relationship offered by a loving God, through Christ, as THE Way outta the mess Adam and Eve got us into.
==… but when you look at the facts, most of the country claims to be Christian, so if any real persecution is taking place, it’s being done Christian to Christian.==
Nah.
==If you choose to take a cavalier approach to religion, and be disrespectful to other faith, that’s fine too but don’t get tied in a knot when others say, I don’t need or want what you offer.==
I’m not responsible for their choice. If everybody got choice, then everybody got responsibility for that choice.
== It’s too bad, imo, that you feel the need to use your religion, Bible and understanding of God, as a club.==
That’s YOUR perception. Again, I’m not responsible for what you conclude.
== Because of this insensibility, you’ll lose opportunities that you otherwise might have shared.==
“Insensibility”???
I relate the Word of God and let the chips fall where they may. THAT’s my job.
== If any religion must be forced on others…==
In what way am I “forcing”? All I’m doing is posting. So are YOU. So, are YOU “forcing” YOUR “religion” on us???
==…I left Christianity and never looked back.==
Then, you never were Christian cuz you never let the fact that God loves you, through Christ, outweigh and override your emotionsl you let circumstances rule you.



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Gwyddion9

posted February 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm


Mr. Incredible,
You assume a lot of what i think or believe. You presume to add to my comments when none is needed. You purposefully seek to instigate issues when there is none.
I found Christianity to be false. It assumes much, promises much but really doesn’t deliver. Your letting the “chips fall where they will” is haphazard and irresponsible.
You may rush in like a bull in a china shop but because of your actions, will fall on deaf ears. You claim to be Christian, which means to be Christ-like but your words, so far from what I have read, have shown no similarity to Jesus, except in your mind. I know many people who are Christian because their actions speak for themselves. They take a loving approach to all people, regardless of whether or not the other person is Christian.
Whether or not the political climate suits their beliefs. Whether or not there are law suits about a cross on public lands. They seek only to be a light and a loving presence of what they have come to know and understand is Jesus.
From your words here and on in other posts, you appear to be militant in your approach and obviously, proud of it, which is why I generally refer to such Christians as the American Taliban. They claim Jesus but their words and actions never reflect it. You have your glory so enjoy it while you will. Your own bible condemns such behavior.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 11:14 pm


==You assume a lot of what i think or believe.==
It’s easy to triangulate it from what you write.
== You presume to add to my comments when none is needed.==
I add nothing. I quote you precisely. Then, I reply.
== You purposefully seek to instigate issues when there is none. ==
Translation: “I can’t hope to keep up with Mr. Incredible, and, so, all blame him and hope everybody will be distracted from the fact that I got nothing of substance to say.”
==I found Christianity to be false.==
Yes, you never were a Christian because you’ve never let the love of God, through Christ, interfere with your emotions.
== It assumes much, promises much but really doesn’t deliver.==
Well, yeah, if you really don’t receive Him, you’re not going to receive what He has to offer. Duh.
== Your letting the “chips fall where they will” is haphazard and irresponsible. ==
Scoffers are in no position to instruct me.
==You may rush in like a bull in a china shop but because of your actions, will fall on deaf ears.==
That was nothing new in the time of Jesus, and it’s nothing new now. So what?
== You claim to be Christian, which means to be Christ-like but your words, so far from what I have read, have shown no similarity to Jesus, except in your mind.==
Except that what I say aligns with the Word of God. Anyway, Romans 8:1 [KJV].
== I know many people who are Christian because their actions speak for themselves.==
In other words, they accommodate YOU.
== They take a loving approach to all people, regardless of whether or not the other person is Christian.==
Of course, being of the world — that is, worldly — you refer to worldly terms, like “love.”
However, regarding Christianity, the term, “love,” is not subject to worldly interpretations. In other words, the Word of God does not require me to like you, nor have affections for you, nor want to take you to the Dairy Queen, nor to the movies. It requires me to give you the Word of Truth as an act of love — that is, unselfish concern for the Salvation of others. Worldly love is just too finicky. Worldly love changes from minute to minute, and no one can trust anybody else, regarding worldly “love.”
To you, though, “love” means walking on egg shells. It means looking to satisfy others rather than satisfying and pleasing God.
==They seek only to be a light…==
Whose “light”?
== … and a loving presence of what they have come to know and understand is Jesus. ==
You really don’t know what that means.
==From your words here and on in other posts, you appear to be militant in your approach and obviously, proud of it, which is why I generally refer to such Christians as the American Taliban.==
And I refer to people like you as the secular Taliban.
== They claim Jesus but their words and actions never reflect it.==
Except that mine do.
== You have your glory so enjoy it while you will. Your own bible condemns such behavior.==
No, He doesn’t. Anyway, scoffers know nothing about it.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 11:19 pm


== You purposefully seek to instigate issues when there is none. ==
Free speech invites dispute. This is a discussion board, not a worship service.
Everyone who wants to post may post. There are enough electrons for everyone. Those who want not to post don’t post.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm


== It assumes much, promises much but really doesn’t deliver.==
He doesn’t deliver to those who turn their backs on Him and don’t receive. Far too many great multitudes upon multitudes upon multitudes upon multitudes upon multitudes upon multitudes upon multitudes have received what He has delivered, and, thus, their testimonies can’t and won’t be dismissed just cuz YOU rejected and didn’t receive what He offers.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 25, 2009 at 11:27 pm


== Your letting the “chips fall where they will” is haphazard and irresponsible. ==
And, yet, when Jesus delivered the Message of the offer of God’s Reconciliation, He let the chips fall where they would. I do what I see He did, and He did what He saw His Father do.



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Gwyddion9

posted February 26, 2009 at 1:49 am


Hey if cafeteria religion works for you, have at it.
You compare yourself to Jesus a lot, but in spite of your inflammatory remarks, you’ve accomplished nothing. You have a large chip on your shoulder for whatever reason. A person on belief net said this to the conservative Christian who always felt their position, actions, and communications were always justified:
“When God hates all the same people and things we do, we can be assured that we have created Him in our own image.” Quoted from Beautiful Dreamer, who is also a Christian.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 26, 2009 at 7:14 am


==You compare yourself to Jesus a lot…==
YOU say I’m supposed to be “Christ-like,” then say that I compare myself to Jesus. Make up your mind.
==… but in spite [sic] of your inflammatory remarks…==
They are “inflammatory” to YOU cuz you don’t agree and you don’t like my confidence in Christ. In the same way, the Pharisees were not happy with Jesus. Some things never change.
==… you’ve accomplished nothing.==
Jesus, also, couldn’t accomplish anything in those who rejected him.
== You have a large chip on your shoulder for whatever reason.==
I do???
== A person on belief net said this to the conservative Christian who always felt their position, actions, and communications were always justified…==
God justifies me through Christ.
==…: “When God hates all the same people and things we do, we can be assured that we have created Him in our own image.” Quoted from Beautiful Dreamer, who is also a Christian. ==
Rather, we hate the same things God hates.



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Mr. Incredible

posted February 26, 2009 at 7:20 am


==… you’ve accomplished nothing.==
I must be about my Father’s business, not my own. So, you’re correct that “I” cannot accomplish anything, except that Christ accomplishes it through me in somebody out there. Not YOU cuz you’re stubborn, but somebody, even just one, and that’s ok. God is pleased even if just one gets the Message.



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Simpleton

posted July 16, 2009 at 4:31 am


What is the number of children born without arms or legs that have been miraculously restored and verified by a before and after video by a prayer to Jesus?
1. Too many to count
2. Over 1,000
3. Several dozen
4. Zero, but only because their faith was not strong enough



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Simpleton

posted July 16, 2009 at 4:36 am


Mr. Incredible
February 26, 2009 7:14 AM
==You compare yourself to Jesus a lot…==
YOU say I’m supposed to be “Christ-like,” then say that I compare myself to Jesus. Make up your mind.
I SAY: you are Christ-like. Or delusional-like.
==… but in spite [sic] of your inflammatory remarks…==
They are “inflammatory” to YOU cuz you don’t agree and you don’t like my confidence in Christ. In the same way, the Pharisees were not happy with Jesus. Some things never change.
I SAY: On the other hand, most things do. We now know that there is no Jesus.
==… you’ve accomplished nothing.==
Jesus, also, couldn’t accomplish anything in those who rejected him.
I SAY: Good, now you two have a lot in common and accomplishments.
== You have a large chip on your shoulder for whatever reason.==
I do???
I SAY: YES! You are obsessed with insisting there is a GOD when there isn’t and getting pouty about it
== A person on belief net said this to the conservative Christian who always felt their position, actions, and communications were always justified…==
God justifies me through Christ.
==…: “When God hates all the same people and things we do, we can be assured that we have created Him in our own image.” Quoted from Beautiful Dreamer, who is also a Christian. ==
Rather, we hate the same things God hates.
I SAY: Indeed, it is a tell-tale sign that your God hates the same people as you do.



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interpreter

posted October 30, 2009 at 10:44 am


What is the point of praying? To have the prayer approved, all reference to Jesus must be removed.



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