Friday, June 30, 2006

Mike Sodrel defends freedom again

There he goes again. Congressman Mike Sodrel continues to offer legislation to protect the First Amendment rights of the American people over the objections of those determined to take that liberty away. Previously, Sodrel had supported legislation to prevent the FEC from regulating the content of political speech on blogs.

This stems from a lawsuit by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union last year against the daily prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives. One of these "offensive" prayers was offered on March 24 by Bloomington's own State Representative Peggy Welch:

"Lord, for those of us that are of the Christian faith, we thank you for the sacrifice that this (Easter) weekend will represent and we thank you especially for what Sunday represents, resurrection and new life; I pray in the name of Jesus."

Apparently, this not a partisan issue.

In addition to prayers from legislators such as Representative Welch, the House invites ministers to offer prayers to open the business day. The words those ministers use are their own, not endorsed or mandated by the House itself. Nonetheless, a federal "judge" ruled that the prayers are a violation of the First Amendment and specifically banned the name of Jesus Christ from being used in an invocation.

I would have preferred that the organized prayer be banned altogether than to ban prayers that overtly praise one specific deity. This has to be an all-or-nothing proposition, however. If the Indiana House is going to invite someone to pray, they cannot regulate the content of that prayer. Banning the mention of a specific deity is a direct violation of that speaker's First Amendment rights, no matter what a federal "judge" may think.

So long as the government does not discriminate based on content or beliefs, the practice is constitutional. All area synagogues, churches, etc. should be given the same opportunity to have their minister offer a prayer in front of the Indiana House. All members of the House should also be given equal access regardless of viewpoint.

But Sodrel's bill is important for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is the violation of free speech and the court's decision to regulate the content of speech by individuals if they happen to be standing in front of the Indiana House of Representatives. The second reason is a theme I have pounded on this blog repeatedly, and that is that the United States of America is a constitutional republic, not a judicial oligarchy. Sodrel references this issue in his press release.

I have warned in the last few months that persecution of Christians is coming. The first step is to force God out of the public square, even if it means limiting the First Amendment rights of individual citizens. Once the precedent has been established, attacks on Christianity will be more and more overt.

If you do not think there is a spiritual war going on behind the scenes, think again. Satan is intelligent and crafty, and he knows that a frontal assault on Christians would be difficult (if not impossible) in modern day America. Instead, our adversary chooses to chip away at our liberty incrementally. As C.S. Lewis wrote: "...when the modern world says to us aloud, "You may be religious when you are alone," it adds under its breath, "and I will see to it that you are never alone.

Discuss this issue at Multi-Level Political Debate.