Friday, July 13, 2007

From Unreal to Real - Religious Zealots Disrupt Senate Prayer

How utterly embarrassing: the first time the United States Senate has a Hindu prayer at the start of a session, and a group of Christian protesters disrupt it.

Rajan Zed, a Hindu priest from Reno, Nevada, had just stepped up to the podium for the landmark occasion when three protesters, said to belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, interrupted him by loudly asking for God's forgiveness for allowing the ''false prayer'' of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.

"Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight," the first protester shouted. "This is an abomination. We shall have no other gods before You."

Democratic Senator Bob Casey, who was serving as the presiding officer for the morning, immediately asked the sergeant-at-arms to restore order. But they continued to protest as they were headed out the door by the marshals, shouting, "No Lord but Jesus Christ!" and "There's only one true God!"

Further embarrassment can be found in a quote later in the article, in which a Christian scholar said the prayer was outside "the American paradigm."

"In Hindu (sic), you have not one God, but many, many, many, many, many gods," the Christian historian David Barton maintained. "And certainly that was never in the minds of those who did the Constitution, did the Declaration [of Independence] when they talked about Creator -- that's not one that fits here because we don't know which creator we're talking about within the Hindu religion."

As a Pagan, I can only laugh, but it's a bitter laugh. It's true that the Founding Fathers were working from an old school viewpoint concerning religion, but we've also spent more than two centuries fixing the errors and omissions they left behind. The genius of the Constitution is not that it's perfect, but that it can be altered as time goes by and societal attitudes change.

Some attitudes, it seems, are going to be painfully slow.

And speaking of embarrassments... according to this article, there were only _3_ members of the Senate present at this historic occasion.


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