My kids can’t bring Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school anymore because there’s a kid who’s “nut intolerant” or something. I don’t want a kid to get sick so I’m cool with it. But I’m thinking that Jesus is the new Peanut butter because you can’t bring Him to school anymore either. It’s getting to the point that anywhere a large group gathers, Jesus isn’t allowed because someone might be Jesus intolerant.
Just today, a Senator in Minnesota is yelling that a preacher opened up the Senate with a prayer and had the gall to mention Jesus. THREE TIMES!!!!! And that made some Jewish legislators…”uncomfortable” and now they’re considering making it against the rules to mention “Jesus” in prayers.
CBS in Minnesota is reporting:
A state senator who is Jewish said Tuesday she was “highly uncomfortable” while a visiting Baptist pastor repeatedly mentioned Jesus Christ and Christianity in a prayer on the floor of the state Senate a day earlier, and wants to require that prayers in the chamber be nondenominational.
The prayer, and the reaction to it by Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, threatens to re-ignite a debate that’s long simmered in the Minnesota Legislature over the content of the invocations that open each Senate and House floor chamber session. Bonoff said she’s met resistance to her concerns from some members of the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
“If we’re going to invite clergy to the Senate session to pray, we know they’re coming from a denomination or a religion that represents a belief system,” said Sen. David Brown, R-Becker. “I believe we don’t have the right to censor their prayers.”…
Bonoff, elected to the state Senate in 2005, said it has been Senate tradition that visiting religious leaders are asked to refrain from direct references to any specific faith. The letter given to the visitors by the Secretary of the Senate lays out such a request: “In an effort to be respectful of the religious diversity of our membership (Christian, Jewish and possibly others among them), we request that your prayer be interfaith and nonsectarian.”
After Campbell’s prayer Monday, Bonoff rose to object to its content and demand he not be invited back. She said she was not reassured by an initially noncommittal response from Senate leaders. Bonoff said she intends to ask Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to commit to changing the letter to say the Senate members “require” rather than “request” that prayers be interfaith and nonsectarian.
“I’m a very religious woman and believe deeply in God,” Bonoff said. “We honor God in public and our political discourse, and that’s proper. But in doing a nondenominational prayer we are honoring him without violating the separation of church and state.”
Bonoff said if Koch won’t commit to the change, she will try to implement it through the Senate rules process. Bonoff said other Jewish members of the Legislature share her concerns.
“It makes anyone who doesn’t pray through Jesus Christ, or believe in Jesus Christ — it makes them feel like they don’t belong,” said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, who is Jewish. “It makes me feel like I don’t belong on the Senate floor to which I was duly elected by my constituents. In a government chamber, I and others should not be made to feel that way.”
Feel. Feel. Feel. Can you imagine an adult complaining that they were made to feel like they didn’t belong. Are we in junior high? Grow up. The guy mentioned Jesus. Big deal. Oh, your precious feelings require that no mention of Jesus enter your ears?
I understand that it’s a tradition to keep the prayers a bit unspecific among a group of people of different faiths but this one preacher mentioned Jesus on one day and you’re so offended that you now want to banish Jesus by rule or law from the Senate floor just to ensure that you’re never made to feel that you’re not one of the gang. Really?
Hawaii has done away with prayers altogether on the legislative floor for fear of offending people and for fear of lawsuits of course.
We’ve got to stop kow-towing to these nuts. You know what, I’m now officially nut intolerant.
March 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm
Dear Peter Baker: Rousseau and Kant and you are heretics. The fundamental value is to do God's will, and we are given free will to choose whether we will or not obey God. Rousseau allowed liberty and free will only to the extent that it furthered the goals of the state, and Kant went the other way, to say that free will allows us to do whatever we believe to be right, with no limitations or boundaries, such as what God has given us. But true liberty and freedom is to to be free to do what we OUGHT to do, which is to do God's will; otherwise, what we have is license to do whatever, based upon our own individual concept of what is right and good, which leads to evil in many respects. The secular state is not a value when it insists that all religions are the same and no Faith has the Truth, and uses that to tell Christians to shut up and keep their values to themselves so that no one is offended. What you are espousing is syncretism, which is a denial of Jesus, who says that He is the Way, the TRUTH and the Life. There is no other way, there is no other TRUTH. If you do not believe that, then say so and stop claiming to be a Christian. What you have stated is new age crappola, not Roman Catholicism, but rather more fitting for an Oprah episode.
We are called to spead the Gospel, to evangelize, and many will be offended when we tell them the Truth, and which tells them that they are wrong in their beliefs.
As St. John wrote in his first epistle:
" Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And every one that loveth him who begot, loveth him also who is born of him. . . And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one… For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself. He that believeth not the Son, maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son. And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life. And this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son, hath life. He that hath not the Son, hath not life. "
Read further if you dare, in his second espistle:
" And this is charity, that we walk according to his commandments. For this is the commandment, that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in the same:  For many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a seducer and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward.  Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son.  If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you."
One final thought: all those philosophers are DEAD. Only Jesus is alive. Now, who are you going to believe?
March 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm
Evidently Sen. Bonoff is not committed to diversity. If she were, she would recognize that tolerance is the best course here.
March 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm
Peter Baker calls two great popes "imperialistic". Good one Pete, keep tryin'. Epic fail.
March 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm
Whenever we read a book, scripture or any other, we understand it through the mediation of various concepts. I read the scriptures all the time, but I understand them through a variety of different concepts including those brought to the table by scripture scholarship, by the whole wealth of cultural concepts that are part of our intellectual heritage and through the living ideas of various philosophers including Kant and Rousseau. It is not accurate to say that Kant thought that to be right which we believe to be right. For Kant only those things are right that can be understood as universal law. It is not useful in dialogue to call this one or that one "heretic" or to imagine that one has all the truth. The Second Vatican Council took a more nuanced approach to how human beings and Christians relate to the pursuit of truth. The value of the secular state is that it provides a plane for interaction and dialogue where no particular religion is given any privileged position legally. In that sense, all religions are on the same playing field. In our society and in our church we have come a long way forward in being able to converse with those of other faiths in a way in which all of us learn from each other. At the moment ecumenism is a bit quiet, but the progress we have made, especially since WWII, has not been lost, and a day will come when the ecumenical spirit will be again vibrant. The great Jesuit, Jacques Dupuis, also developed concepts which help us to understand that the Divine Verbum, as unincarnate, as well as the Holy Spirit are sources of truth even in religions and non-religious traditions that are quite different from Christianity. Peter Baker
March 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm
The definition of "heretic" is a dissenter of established religious dogma, especially a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who disavows a revealed truth.
It is indeed helpful to call a apade a spade. As a Catholic you do not have a right to read Scripture according to your own devices, as the Church has instructed for 2000 years, for this leads to perverted understanding. This is what protestants do, and look at the fruits of that for the last 500 years. Read St. Peter's letters, and reread them over and over after asking the Holy Spirit prayerfully to give you wisdom and understanding, until this penetrates. When you find yourself disagreeing with the imperialist popes and the Truth, ask yourself where you've gone wrong, not where they are wrong.
Kant's universal truths ultimately came down to what Kant decided were universal truths, but which were ultimately founded upon the Judeo-Christian heritage that moulded him.
While other religions can know God's law, what the Church calls natural law written in the hearts of all men, they do not possess the fullness of the Truth as revealed by Jesus, the incarnate Word, and professed by the Church, and which does not change with the whims of humanity through the ages.
The "Divine Verbum" is not unincarnate! This is an outright heresy, and it is insisted upon by nonbelievers, which Christians must ultimately accept also in order to not offend them. Hence, we're back where this discussion started: vehement opposition to prayers in the name of Jesus.
The "spirit of Vatican II" is the guide for all of the muddled thinking and destructive efforts of modernists in the Church for the past 40 years, and is an evil spirit, the "smoke of Satan" referred to by Pope Paul. What the Holy Spirit revealed to the Church during the Second Vatican Council is far from and quite opposite the "spirit of Vatican II" that overcame so many in the Church, and which is now being driven out by the light of the Word Incarnate and the Holy Spirit. The "ecumenical spirit" will "again be vibrant" only to the extent that Christians are willing to deny Jesus.
March 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Our church,the Catholic Church, is a universal church. A very big tent indeed. It can encompass many different kinds of understanding. I respect the right of the writer who wishes to label me as a heretic to hold the views he holds. There are some Catholics who hold such views. There are many Catholics who derive spiritual sustenance from the Rosary. I have never said a rosary in my life and I am 72. The write has an illusion if thinks the current right wing tendency in church leaders will succeed in pushing those with a more liberal understanding out. I am in for the duration and will continue to advocate more enlightened policies in our church. Doubtless, I will be dead before the pendulum swings back to the left. But I will not be pushed out. I will remain high church in liturgy, broad church in doctrine. Respectful of the Pope and other bishops and reading carefully what they say and often agreeing. In any case determining for myself what is the value of their ideas. It is my church too! Peter Baker
March 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm
Sen.Bonoff fails to recognize that Jesus was a Jew; studied the Torah, said the Jewish prayers, taught in the temple. How sad that she sees Him as a threat!!
March 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm
Dear Peter: I'm not seeking to throw you out of the Church. But I believe, and have enough understanding of the Catholic Faith to know, that you have removed yourself. You and others like you have set yourselves up as gods, as knowing more and better what the Church ought to do, being more "enlightened," rather than exercising humility and obedience to the Pope, the Magisterium and Jesus, who founded the Church, put Peter in charge and gave the Church the authority, not each of us, to decide matters of Faith and morals. By holding the positions you do, and "determining for myself what is the value of their ideas," you have set yourself up as your own pope, and thus, outside the Church.
It's too bad that you have never prayed the Rosary. It's funny you wrote that because earlier today I spent an hour in adoration, including praying the rosary, and also prayed for you. By praying the Rosary, we learn humility, we learn what it means to do God's will and not our own, and we learn that God's ways are not our ways. Please try it, and please spend some time in prayer and also study the Catechism, acknowledging that the Church has the answers and you must find where you have gone wrong, and not the other way around. I will keep you in my prayers because I don't want you to be a heretic, or face the loss of your soul.
Thanks for taking the time to cross swords with me. And let's both remember that it's not our Church but Jesus' Church.