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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Indiana Judge's Ban on Christian Prayer May Be Put to Test

Fred Jackson
and Allie Martin

To pray or not to pray in Jesus' name? That's a question that stood before the Indiana House of Representatives when it opened its 2006 session yesterday.

Late last month, Federal District Judge David Hamilton reaffirmed his earlier ruling that Indiana lawmakers must no longer pray in the name of Jesus when they open the legislative session. Hamilton declared such a prayer a violation of the alleged separation of church and state. The ruling was a result of a lawsuit filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Several House members, both Republican and Democrat, have said if they are asked to offer the opening prayer, they will defy the judge's order and pray in Jesus' name. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, had asked Hamilton to reconsider the ruling, saying it was too vague to enforce. The speaker says today's session will be opened in prayer, but that he will seek to abide by the judge's ruling while the matter is being appealed.

The State Attorney General's office has asked the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals to review Hamilton's decision.

Silencing Christian References

Judge Hamilton has stated if anyone tried to evade the injunction, the court would take appropriate measures to enforce it. Micah Clark, president of the American Family Association of Indiana, says many in the Hoosier State are outraged with Hamilton's threat. "I think that is a very sad day in Indiana when a minister is told he cannot pray as instructed in the Bible to ask his prayer in the Savior's name," Clark says. "It's very sad."

Clark is convinced that the fact Christian prayers were singled out shows the true agenda of groups like the ACLU. "It tells you the agenda that the [ACLU] has and has had for quite some time, [which] is to publicly silence any reference to Christ," the pro-family leader says, noting other recent anti-Christian moves.

"We've just come through the Christmas season, and we've seen… where the radical secularists are trying to take the name of Christ out of everything — even a nationally recognized holiday like Christmas."

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says thanks to Judge Hamilton, the Indiana House of Representatives now joins Saudi Arabia as one more place where Jesus' name cannot be honored in an official ceremony.

  • (This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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