Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Franklin Graham Against Interfaith Prayer

Agape Press reports that Franklin Graham has weighed in against our Interfaith Days of Prayer (here and here).

Like Dobson and most other leaders of the Religious Right who wrongly proclaim that the U.S. is a "Christian Nation," they only want liberty for their own brand of religion.

22 comments:

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Hi Bruce,

You said, "they only want liberty for their own brand of religion."

How true. According to the Agape article, "the NDOP website states that the coordinators welcome the involvement other faith traditions in the event; but the policy statement adds that, 'our expression of that involvement is specifically limited to the Judeo-Christian heritage and those who share that conviction.'"

Franklin Graham then limits this even more. He said the nationwide prayer initiative has been championed and organized largely by a single group: "Evangelicals."

Sad.

Anonymous said...

Does God bless disobedience? What has caused this country to have been blessed to have and enjoy the freedom it's had (James 1:17)? Franklin Graham did not say that we are a theocracy, but there is no denying that it was NOT founded on a secular view of man. I really wonder why there is such an aversion against our nations history and any talk about the faith of those that were instrumental in the establishing of the government. Nobody is saying that they were all Christians either. However, some people (as I've had happen in previous discussions) will deny that any were Christians - and say they were all deists! That's a revising of history for some present day agenda I'm afraid.

>they only want liberty for their own brand of religion...

Jesus made the claims that He was the ONLY way to the Father (John 14:6). There is salvation by NO other name (Acts 4:12). That is not negotiable. The consequences are serious if Jesus told the truth (Luke 13:5).

Roger

Alice Clay said...

"I really wonder why there is such an aversion against our nations history..."

I would imagine the aversion is not so much against history as it is against how history is applied. To say that America was established as a Christian nation (a notion I personally disagree with), does not give present-day Christians the right to force their religious beliefs on Jews, Atheists, Muslims, etc.

I would venture to guess that's what Bruce is getting at with his statement about how they want liberty for their own brand of religion.

What I don't understand is your reaction to that statement. Who said anything against Jesus' claims regarding salvation??

Anonymous said...

A separation of Church and State does not mean a separation of salt from society (Matthew 5:13). For that reason and the exclusive nature of truth and Jesus' statements that I previously referenced, it shouldn't be seen as 'forcing a belief' on anybody, rather instead a sharing of a truth that has eternal consequences - and that we are accountable for. That is not a particular 'brand of religion' as Bruce stated, but the truth.

And to follow up on the original post, it's not about us being a Theocracy, it's about Thankfulness. If we eliminate God from our history, we deny him the Glory that only He deserves. It's not about the wisdom of man providing us with a doctrine or government. It's not about being thankful for our founders. Instead, let's be thankful to God for his provision. Where is the harm in that? Who do we worship...God or government?

>I would imagine the aversion is not so much against history...

Let's go back to the story Bruce linked:

>"The National Day of Prayer goes back to the Continental Congress," Graham points out, "with George Washington, when he set aside a day of prayer. So this goes back to the very beginning and the foundations of this nation. "

Is that fact or fiction? What God were they praying to?

>And while all Americans are invited to participate, Graham suggests that the day of prayer has historically been a Judeo-Christian event.

Is that not true?

Roger

Greek Shadow said...

I've been teaching both U.S. and World History for twenty four years. History is a pack of lies mutually agreed upon by the winners. Right now the moral mafia is in the ascendant and their message is that America is great because God has blessed us.
Maybe my attitude is like Mae Wests in one of her movies. She is wearing a mink stole and another woman says "Goodness what a beautiful coat." And Mae West replies "Goodness had nothing to do with it."
America is great because of our sheer size, abundant natural resourses, free enterprise that has rewarded innovation, a strong work ethic, rugged individualism, bloody wars of conquest upon Mexico and the indigenous population that I am sure God did not approve of. God hardly approved of the Jim Crow laws and a took a courageous Christian leader sacrificing his life to bring that to the attention the general public. Most of what has made America great was our Constitution, the checks and ballances, separation of power not only between the branches of government but between the Federal, State and Local levels. God did not send a Moses down to impose this on us, it was voted on and ratified by the people. It's never been perfect, but a sure lot better than the theocracy of Iran, the nihilism going on Iraq, the genocide of Africa, all being done in the name of a supreme diety.

Snoofy said...

From

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/history.php

I learn the national day of prayer was declared by a joint resolution of Congress in 1952, set aside as the first Thursday in May by Reagan in 1988, and has been declared by the governors of all 50 states since last year. My question is: If it is the NATIONAL Day of Prayer, why is it only for evangelical Christians or people of the Judeo-Christian faith. If it was it should be called the Evangelical Christian Day of Prayer or the Day of Prayer for Christians and Jews. Of course Jesus is the only way to the Father. That is why Baptists churches require a regenerated church membership and are bodies separate from the world. Sorry, the whole nation does not fall under that category. Too bad for everyone who wants to worship God in spirit and truth in a National Church.

Lulu Maude said...

Thanks for your comments and for the general mission of your blog.

I love Jesus. I do not love many of the people who insist upon clubbing other people with him.

I'm grateful for your enlightened attitudes.

Shine on!

Monk-in-Training said...

Anonymous, or Roger (not sure if that is your name with the Anon posting)

Franklin Graham did not say that we are a theocracy, but there is no denying that it was NOT founded on a secular view of man

You are apparently saying that the US Constitution is based on biblical principles. I don't buy it, no where is there voting in the Scriptures. Governments are established by God, not ordained by the people. How is the selection of Senators or Representatives based on Scripture?

The authors of the United States Constitution had first-hand experience with governments created and supported by God. Preaching at the coronation of King George III, the Archbishop of Canterbury informed the people that the new monarch ruled by "divine appointment" and this required his subjects to submit entirely to his authority. Every Founder broke a solomn oath, sworn in the Sacred Name of Jesus Christ, when they rebelled against King George III.

In leading a revolution, the Founders rejected the biblical model of God creating governements, they chose the revolutionary view that government has its basis outside the Bible, that is in Common law (English)and the French Enlightenment, with a bit of classical Rome thrown in.

The US Constitution explicitly outlaws religious tests for office holders. Our membership in or non membership in any religion has absolutely no bearing on loyalty to the state. Current proponents of including "one Nation under God" in the pledge of allegiance are reverting to a pre-Revolutionary War notion that political loyalty is tied to one's faith.

The fact that the Founders may or may not have been Christians are irrelevant, the structure of the Government they (not God) created is clearly intended to be faith neutral. I for one thank God for it.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Monk,

I thank God for it too.

Anonymous said...

Monk-in-Training,

I am not calling for a theocracy as I don't believe Franklin Graham, or Dobson are either. The Biblical principles of a government restraining evil and the innate God-given desire of man to be free and to be creative, to discover and use their talents, and to worship Him (or not to, it's their choice) are reflected in their writings and in their work. The checks and balances countered the failures of previous government systems. By not establishing a theocracy, people are free to worship as they choose. We cannot deny the uniqueness of our government and that we are blessed to have the freedoms that we do. It's troubling when folks like 'Greek Shadow' go out of their way to deny God the credit where He is due. He genuinely seemed displeased when I talked about thankfulness earlier. Scripture tells us where blessings come from (James 1:17) - they are not from man and they are not by chance. Anyway, I have said nothing about religious tests for office holders (by the way, secularists are just as capable of implementing these as people of faith), or that the government is forcing or promoting a particular faith. However, it is deception to believe that faith-neutrality means no faith at all. Are some people implying that people of faith can't hold certain positions because it violates church and state? Who do you think benefits from that distortion? If you are a Christian, you understand that we are in a spiritual battle. I think it's very likely that something as understandable as the separation of church and state can be twisted by the enemy into a tool of restraining people of faith from impacting the world they live and work in (isn't that the goal of Satan?). If you are a believer, you are a believer everywhere you go. We don't change our beliefs based on our location. The enemy would love for us to believe otherwise.


Greek Shadow,

>History is a pack of lies...

I'm not talking about history as recorded in a textbook, I'm talking about a historical reality that we can't revise.

>Most of what has made America great was our Constitution, the checks and ballances, separation of power not only between the branches of government but between the Federal, State and Local levels. God did not send a Moses down to impose this on us, it was voted on and ratified by the people.

Honestly, you sound more like a deist than a Christian. God is not some remote, indifferent God who is not interested and intimately involved in His creation. He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). You removed God from history, thus denying Him the glory. Do you have a problem with giving God the glory for his goodness and blessings? Maybe you are revealing something here. While you say I am making an idol out of the Bible, it appears to me that you are making an idol out of Government (with separation of church and state being among those principles) by giving it the credit that God is due.

I suppose that if you asked some orphan that is living in Haiti whether we are blessed or not that you would NOT get an ambiguous reply. Let's not be negative, pessimistic, and ungrateful. Let's regain our perspective here.

Snoofy,

>Too bad for everyone who wants to worship God in spirit and truth

You can't worship God in spirit and truth if you are not worshiping the God of the Bible. I know that's not popular to say these days, but Jesus made those claims, not me. There are not multiple paths to God (John 14:6). Will people be helped by telling them otherwise? Why are we being pulled away from this truth? Why is it that those that want to pray to other gods can't create their own day of prayer? Instead, compromise is supposed to occur, thus compromising the truth.

Roger

Snoofy said...

Roger,

"You can't worship God in spirit and truth if you are not worshiping the God of the Bible."

That's absolutely right. So why are you trying to make a NATIONAL Day of Prayer to worship God in spirit and in truth. Go to you prayer closet or to your church.

Monk-in-Training said...

Snoofy,
It appears that the Christ that Roger is interested in, is a Christ of American culture, not the transcendant God of all humans/times/places.

It appears to be his way or not be a full citizen, just exactly how it was before our Constitution removed the requirement to BE a Christian to hold office.

Some in the Dominionist/Fundamentalist/Evangelical movment have already made calls along this line.

I just wish they would spend as much time reading the Gospels as they do listening to Rush/Hannity/Dobson.

Greek Shadow said...

Anon,
unlike the moral mafia I have the ability to compartmentalize. I have a strong and deep faith, reverence, and abiding belief in God. It is personal or subjective. As a public school teacher and I teach all the different religions present throughout the world I have to be objective and be very careful not to favor one over the other. I am able to do that because I was taught by the master at doing this. The late J. Iviloy Bishop my religion Professor at Wayland Baptist College. I can remember how he frustrated the "Just brainwash me crowd" in class. He would cover the different theories of Creation, or eschatology. Give their strengths and weaknesses. Then refuse to disclose his personal preference or belief. He maintained that our education was not complete until we made up our own minds and being in the postition of authority he did not want to prejudice that process. When I went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at that time most of the truly wonderful Godly men I had the pleasure of sitting under taught the same way. What a shame that education died at that wonderful institution the day Russell Dilday was fired, by thugs pretending to be doing God's work.
I am a Christian as a rebuttal to your implied libel. I am also a citizen of the United States. I can separate the two. I live in this world accept its limitations and try to live with good manners who are also fellow citizens. We share a pact which says you stay out of my house and I'll stay out of yours, you are free to worship as you choose and I will do the same. Ireland, The entire Middle East was be so much more peaceful if they would adopt the good sense our Baptist forebears insisted be added to our Constitution.
When I teach religion, and you can't teach history and leave it out, it has to be faith nuetral I represent the state not the church. Were my son or daughter in a class where the teacher denounced Luther or Calvin and praised Ignatius Of Loyolla. I would have words with the Principle of that school. Should the public school require my children to say the rosary, just because New Mexico is over 60% Catholic I would contact the ACLU and want them to use the courts to stop the practise. I don't force my beliefs on you, don't force them on me. The Constitution made no prohibitions against religion, its prohibitions are against the government using it's power to promote one religion over the others. I've wasted enough time trying to reason with the closed minded. It's like trying to reason with a teenager -- It just give you something to do until you realize you can't.

Anonymous said...

C'mon guys. I thought we were interested in debating and not turning this into a playground incident. I won't insult your intelligence if you won't insult mine - deal? I won't judge you if you won't judge me.

Ok, back on topic...

>That's absolutely right. So why are you trying to make a NATIONAL Day of Prayer to worship God in spirit and in truth. Go to you prayer closet or to your church.

Do you really fear that the NATIONAL day of prayer signifies a theocracy? Would just changing the name of the event to 'Day of Prayer' instead of 'National' day of prayer be the real solution? Plus, I don't understand why Christians are dictated to so much. Why should I have to go to my prayer closet or church? Why can't we assemble publicly if we want to?

This attitude is illogical. I know you don't have these complaints when presidents and political figures call for prayer. Have you forgotten that our sessions of Congress open in prayer?

>It appears that the Christ that Roger is interested in, is a Christ of American culture,

Do I want a Christ of materialism and unbridled lust? Nope, because that's what our culture is consumed with these days.

>I just wish they would spend as much time reading the Gospels...

I want not just a Christ of the Gospels but a Christ as illuminated by all of scripture. If Christ was the God-man, and God doesn't change, then we have all of scripture to guide us.


Roger

Anonymous said...

Greek Shadow,

>I am a Christian as a rebuttal to your implied libel.

I did not call you a deist. I merely stated that you (by your replies on this thread) sounded like one. Your reply troubled me as it reads as if you believed that God could care less about you and me, and the state of the nation we live in.

To all,

Let's not lose focus of who the real enemy is. The real enemy is not the fundamentalist, the dominionist, the evangelical, Rush, Hannity, or Dobson. We know who the accuser of the brethren is (Revelation 12:10) and who the author of confusion is (1 Corinthians 14:33, John 10:10). These are definitely confusing times we live in and God's people need wisdom and discernment to sort out truth from error. I say we all pray hard for that knowing God will give generously to those that honestly seek. (Matthew 7:11)

Roger

Snoofy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Snoofy said...

Roger,

You said:

"'Day of Prayer' instead of 'National' day of prayer be the real solution? Plus, I don't understand why Christians are dictated to so much. Why should I have to go to my prayer closet or church? Why can't we assemble publicly if we want to?"

"This attitude is illogical. I know you don't have these complaints when presidents and political figures call for prayer. Have you forgotten that our sessions of Congress open in prayer?"

Above I showed a web site that gave the history of the National Day of Prayer. If the National Day of Prayer is endorsed by Congress and the govenors of all the States, then it seems to me it should be for all Americans. I'm just objecting to making the National Day of Prayer a Christian only event.

No, I believe you should be able to pray in public or in private. And if you only want to invite Christians that is fine too. But don't get Congress to endorse it as the NATIONAL Day of Prayer if you aren't going to invite all Americans.

I really think we are missing some great opportunities to build relationships with our fellow countrymen by trying to take the National Day of Prayer over for ourselves only. Why not be a little more gracious? It could be a great opportunity of witness. Yes, you would have to be a little forgiving of people who don't know Jesus praying and saying things you didn't agree with. But why not loosen up a little, go with the flow, and see what God might do?

Anonymous said...

snoofy, do you really think the muslims will welcome with open arms, their prayer events to Christians so that everyone is included? Do you want to beat up on them for that like you seem to enjoy berating your own? Freedom to worship or pray does not have to mean that every event must be attended by all, it is the freedom we have to do our own thing.

Snoofy said...

Anon,

I guess it's just the manner in which the Christians are organizing their own events. They are trying to make it look like they run the National Day of Prayer. Look at this web site:

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/

First, it claims to be the "Official Web Site" for the National Day of Prayer. That's some rather strong self-promotion and probably a lie of sorts. You can always call yourself the "official" organization for something, but that does not make it so. The Dobsons self-appointed themselves to be the official site - I suppose (Hey, I'm still trying to figure this out. If you understand it please explain it to me). Shirley Dobson claims to be the NDP Chairman. Who made her chairman? Where is the money coming from for this promotion, from taxpayers or from the Dobson organization? Either way it's wrong as far as I'm concerned. If tax payers are supporting it (which I would doubt, but with Bush trying to give government money to religious organization I don't know for sure), then not including all Americans is wrong. If Dobson's money is funding it, then they have the right to invite whom they want, but then how can they claim they are the official organization for the National Day of Prayer which it something declared by Congress? It's false advertising.

Anonymous said...

>I'm just objecting to making the National Day of Prayer a Christian only event.

I'm just failing to see how that is one step away from a Theocracy. Another thing I don't understand, why is there so much distrust of folks like Franklin Graham and Dobson and the others? A disagreeing with them politically doesn't automatically lead to a suspicion of them, or at least it shouldn't. Let's not be deceived by the enemy that wants to keep Christians distracted and fighting each other.

>Why not be a little more gracious? It could be a great opportunity of witness. Yes, you would have to be a little forgiving of people who don't know Jesus praying and saying things you didn't agree with. But why not loosen up a little, go with the flow, and see what God might do?

Why can't those that object to it say that instead of questioning Dobson's and Grahams intentions, labeling them as initiators of a clandestine theocracy, etc. I don't like the spirit behind those complaints.

Roger

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Roger,

A lot of us don't like the spirit behind the clandestine, and not so clandestine, attempts by Dobson, Graham and others to impose thier theocratic politics on all of society.

Anonymous said...

Bruce, This site is consistently the home of angry posters that seem to bear years old grudges and unforgiveness. I have never heard Dobson or the people you continually harp on speak that way about anyone. Hmmm.