Prayer in public? On City grounds? You know what comes next. Atheists screaming and pulling their hair out.
Detroit News reports that a local church has set up a prayer booth in City Hall for folks facing job losses and/or financial problems. Mind you, the space is free and available to any and all non-profits that apply to use the space so this local church is well within the law. But some atheists are upset. Surprise. Surprise:
The offer has been well-received by the 400 or so folks who have stopped by, but it’s a concern to an atheist-agnostic group that’s blasting Warren for allowing evangelists to set up shop inside a government building.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation said resident concerns over the booth — located in the lobby of city offices and adorned with a banner that simply reads “Prayer Station” — prompted the nonprofit to file a request for copies of city policy, its rental agreement with the church and verification it is being charged to use the space. The group is also criticizing the city’s failure to disassociate itself from the religious message of the church.
“This is ridiculous. Prayer should be private,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Wisconsin-based nonprofit. “A government is supposed to be neutral when it comes to religion.”
OK. Who wants to bet a lawsuit is imminent?
This is the kind of story going on everywhere. But I think the misconception is everywhere, even among Christians that a government that is “neutral” on religious matters must act in a discriminatory manner against religious organizations.
An open space to all non-profits, according to the atheist group, must be denied to only religious organizations? That is not neutrality. That’s discrimination. Plain and simple.
This is exactly the kind of thing that worries religious folks, especially with gay marriage being legalized in several states. When governments enact laws granting homosexuals a right to marry, a government would not, according to the logic presented by the atheist group, be acting in a neutral manner by allowing churches to not grant homosexuals their right to marry.
And this whole business that prayer should be “private” like the atheist said in the article sounds an awful lot like “you can be religious but don’t bring that whole Jesus thing out in public.”
This fight will be played out in every state in America. We’ve got to make sure that Christianity is not “neutralized” into being what the government mandates.