Thursday is the 49th annual National Day of Prayer. That is, unlesssome idiot judge decides it constitutes an establishment of religion, tendsto promote a particular faith and/or is offensive to the hypersensitive.
In years past, there have been more than 20,000 prayer events acrossthe country. In 1999, 500 inmates held a prayer service at California'sFolsom prison. This year, in San Francisco, a group of motorcyclists willpray as they drive around the city.
If you don't think this nation needs prayer, desperately, then youhaven't been paying attention to the news lately.
The day before Easter (nice timing), a gang of federal goons - withautomatic weapons - invaded a religious home in Miami and snatched a childfrom his family with the ultimate objective of sending him back to a countrywhere atheism is the official doctrine.
Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the Boy Scoutswill be forced to violate their principles by accepting homosexual leaders.An acknowledgment of God is a key component of scouting, and 60 percent ofchapters are sponsored by religious bodies. But in Brave New America, awarped definition of equality negates the conscience of believers.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declaredOhio's state motto, adopted in 1958 - "With God, all things are possible"- in violation of the First Amendment. "This is may be the blandeststatement about God that has ever been struck down," says Douglas Laycock,a law professor at the University of Texas. The court reasoned that sincethe phrase comes from the Book of Matthew, it constitutes an endorsement ofChristianity.
What about "In God We Trust," on our currency and in our nationalanthem ("And this be our motto, in God is our trust")? Since it comes fromthe Book of Psalms, does it constitute government endorsement of Judaism?
Writing for the court's majority, Judge Arven Cohn notes that theSupreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of "In God WeTrust." If Al Gore makes the next three Supreme Court nominations, count onit.
The courts have taken a First Amendment prohibition on theestablishment of a national church and transformed it into a ban on anyconnection of government and religion, however innocuous, that gets moreabsurd with each passing year. School prayer, student-led invocations,creches and menorahs on public property - all have been declared theconstitutional equivalent of the Church of England.
That this is the furthest thing from the Founders' intent seems not tomatter. The Pilgrims weren't secular humanists. The first Congress, whichvoted for salaried chaplains, wasn't the 18th century counterpart of theACLU.
On his deathbed, President Andrew Jackson pointed to a nearby Bible andexclaimed, "That book is the Rock upon which our republic rests." Now, 155years later, America is ruled by unelected militants who have determinedthat the Rock of our republic (the book on which every president fromWashington to Clinton has taken the oath of office) is a mortal threat toour republic, that if Ohio is allowed to quote the New Testament in itsstate seal, tomorrow citizens will be baptized at gunpoint.
The answer to this pigheaded, truncheon-wielding, state-enforcedsecularism is not to throw up our hands in despair. When things lookhopeless, prayer is all the more essential.
Throughout the darkest days of this century, in the death camps andgulags, there was prayer. Before Cassie Bernall was murdered at ColumbineHigh School a year ago for saying she believed in God, the 17-year-oldprobably said a silent prayer.
Did these appeals to a much higher court help? Nazism is gone. Afterthe liberation of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union's demise, communism ison the wane. Perhaps one day soon secularism will join its brother isms onthe editing floor of history. With God, all things are possible.