Nick Provenza at The Seattle Times reports that praying in the name of Jesus Christ is no longer allowed at Longview City Council invocations. The ban was enacted due to a atheist’s complaint.
LONGVIEW (AP) — Ministers should refrain from invoking Jesus Christ in invocations for City Council meetings, Longview Mayor Don Jensen said.
Jensen told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association last month that such prayers were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit, The Daily News reported Tuesday.
“It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy and cost our city and our citizens a lot of money,” said Jensen, who met with the association upon the advice of the city attorney.
If they can’t speak the name Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation, said President Mark Schmutz, pastor of Northlake Baptist Church. He called the development sad and disappointing.
“They’re asking us not to do what we’re (called) to do,” he said. “This is the one and only true God, and so we’re not trying to be against anybody — we’re just being clear about what we’re for.”
A Christian invocation has started Longview City Council meetings since the 1950s. There was no invocation at last Thursday’s meeting.
The invocation complaint was lodged by Longview resident Dan L. Smith, 69, who describes himself as a “very comfortable atheist.” -> Read the whole thing!
This article demonstrates a clever tactic against Christianity where that attitude is that prayer is fine, but just not Christian prayer. I could imagine this tactic being used in public schools if and when Christian kids pray in Jesus’ name during student initiated prayer times.
Mr. Smith’s complaint is odd though given that he considers himself a comfortable atheist. If he is so comfortable, why does he care who prays to what or to whom? Why not just treat all prayer as another one of those quick but inconvenient formalities included in most business meetings?
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23 ESV)
A comfortable Christian,