Faithandthelaw's Blog

The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

Commissioner asks for, gets promise of prayer before meetings

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 14, 2011

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily


Peggy Littleton

The reports about diminishing Christianity’s presence have been legion in recent months, when a Florida school district cracked down on Christians, when activist Muslims demanded that prominent Christian leader Franklin Graham be censored, when the courts ruled music can be banned if it even sounds religious, how an ex-Supreme Court justice said those who pray “in Jesus name” properly can be prevented from a prayer rotation at public meetings, and how the Park Service seems to believe dissing Christians just dandy.

So what’s going on with newly elected Commissioner Peggy Littleton in El Paso County, Colo., where Colorado Springs is located?

According to reports in the local media including the Colorado Springs Gazette, Littleton’s first request when she joined the commission this month was to call for more prayer.

“I’d like to encourage my colleagues to have, at a minimum, prayer together every Tuesday and expand it to leaders, elected officials and citizens who would like to express their blessing over the board,” the Gazette reported Littleton said.

And so it was done.

The newspaper said because her request was not a policy issue, all the support it needed was an informal agreement by three commissioners. The commission chair has control of the agenda, so it now is scheduled.

Amy Lathen, the chairwoman of the commission, told the newspaper that starting next week, probably every Tuesday and Thursday, meetings will include prayer.

While a large number of government bodies in the state and across the country routinely open their session with prayer, when requests have come concerning the issue in recent months, it’s mostly been the other direction.

That’s even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled prayer is permissible without violating the U.S. Constitution.

In El Paso County, the report said, commissioners have had an invocation periodically. Commissioner Sallie Clark was the chairwoman starting in 2006 and added them to the agenda.

She told the newspaper it was important to “invite different clergy to ask for guidance from a higher being.”

But the schedule has varied over the years, so the request for an increase in prayer time was welcomed by Lathen, the chairwoman.

“I account to God first. I can’t do this by myself; it’s a big job we’ve got,” she told the Gazette. “We have the invocation, then the pledge. God, then country.”

Darryl Glenn, who won a commission seat in the November election, also told the newspaper he supports the move.

“This is really the people’s government, and it shows how open and diverse we are because we rotate it around,” he told the newspaper.

Littleton said she took her inspiration from Benjamin Franklin, who in 1787 told the Constitutional Convention, “The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

Littleton told the newspaper she’d like to have the commission follow that principle “and start out truly with God first, country second and service as our third most important item we do.”

Littleton previously served on the State Board of Education and she’s taught in various education settings, including homeschooling her own children and working on the faculty of the Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy.

She also has conducted professional staff development seminars nationwide. She holds a B.S. from Regents University.


Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Headlines reveal, however, that the move isn’t always toward adding prayer to the public life. In Florida, a years-long battle has been raging after a school district cracked down on Christian statements by faculty or their spouses – even off-campus.

During the last National Day of Prayer events, activist Muslims were successful in having the government attempt to silence prominent Christian leader Franklin Graham.

Courts have been in action, ruling that music can be banned if it even sounds religious, and when a new $600 million plus visitor center was finished in Washington, it originally left out the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

Even a former former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra O’Connor, opined that a city could exclude someone who wants to pray “in Jesus name” from a rotation list of volunteers who lead invocations.

And at the Constitution Hall historic site, Park Service employees were caught denigrating Christianity during the formulation of the United States.

There have been other efforts to remove mention of God and references to the religious faith and influences of the Founding Fathers from government grounds.

WND reported in 2006 when Chaplain Todd DuBord, who works with the enterprises of famed martial arts champion and actor Chuck Norris, told WND he was more than startled during his visits to the U.S. Supreme Court and two other historic locations to discover the stories of the nation’s heritage had been sterilized of Christian references.

He visited the courthouse and was surprised that what the tour guides were telling him wasn’t what he was seeing.

“Having done some research (before the trip), I absolutely was not expecting to hear those remarks,” which, he had told WND, “denied history.”

DuBord wrote to the Supreme Court and several other groups, asking them to restore the historic Christian influences to their presentations. He said he was most disturbed by what appeared to be revisionism in the presentations given to visitors at the Supreme Court.

There, he said, his tour guide was describing the marble frieze directly above the justices’ bench: “Between the images of the people depicting the Majesty of the Law and Power of Government, there is a tablet with 10 Roman numerals, the first five down the left side and the last five down the right. This tablet represents the first 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights,” she said.

“The 10 what?” was DuBord’s thought.

Dubord began researching and found a 1975 official U.S. Supreme Court handbook, prepared under the direction of Mark Cannon, administrative assistant to the chief justice. It said, “Directly above the Bench are two central figures, depicting Majesty of the Law and Power of Government. Between them is a tableau of the Ten Commandments.”

Further research produced information that in 1987 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark and came under control of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Under the new management the handbook was rewritten in 1988. The Ten Commandments reference was left out of that edition, and nothing replaced it.

The next reference found said only that the frieze “symbolizes early written laws.” Then in 1999, the handbook referred to the depiction as the “Ten Amendments to the Bill of Rights.”

“The more I got into [his research], the more I saw Christianity had been abandoned from history,”  DuBord said at the time.

He has documented his findings on his NationalTreasures.org website.

Read more: Commissioner asks for, gets promise of prayer before meetings http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=250773#ixzz1B1ygKswQ

 

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