Editorial on prayer insults Christians

March 15, 1998

Your Feb. 23 editorial "Shall we pray or prey?" was offensive disrespectful of the clergy, inconsiderate of the great majority of people who are Christians and uncalled for.

You criticized a prayer that you did not read, and made charges that are not true.

My Feb. 13 prayer in Annapolis was in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Prayer Proclamation, adopted by the U.S. Senate, which called on Americans to "confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow," and plainly stated: "We have forgotten God. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us."

The paragraphs in my prayer that caused some delegates concern were:

"Our country is in trouble, for our people have forsaken thy laws, they have gone their own selfish way, and the consequences are devastating.

"Though our leaders sin, many [people] do not seem to care because they no longer hold themselves or each other accountable by the commandments of God as these are found in the Bible.

"Many believe that personal morality is of no consequence; but the problems we face in America, and right here in Maryland, are the results of bad moral choices at all levels of society by adults -- illegitimacy, divorce, child abuse and neglect, drug abuse and abortion, and the breakdown of the moral fabric that holds a free society together.

"It has never been more important than it is today to have moral people in office and good role models before the people in public life."

Those who represent us in Annapolis need a few good prayers from a few good preachers. None of us is perfect; but it is not unreasonable to expect our leaders, including our president, to obey the laws of God and man, and in so doing, to set a good example for the people to follow.

And, yes, I did close the prayer in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Rev. John A. Dekker


The writer is pastor of Cub Hill Bible Presbyterian Church in Baltimore.


A hearty nonsectarian hallelujah to The Sun regarding your editorial on the prayer issue in the House of Delegates. It hit every valid argument on the nose concerning ministers using Annapolis to further their religious views.

I shared your editorial with my seventh-grade civics class, using it as a good example of freedom of the press. We continually discuss the Constitution and the amendments, and how both affect our daily lives.

How do I answer my students when they question prayers at a General Assembly session, when I've just finished instructing them about our supposed separation of church and state? It is a puzzlement to me, as well.

Our legislators are there to create laws that will make our state a better place in which to live. They disagree on enough issues; they certainly don't need outside issues to cause further divisiveness.

Let those who feel the need for divine authority take out a nickel and look carefully at the inscription: in God we trust.

Barbara Blumberg


Pub Date: 3/15/98

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