Splitting Hairs on Religion

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Houston asked Rev. Scott Rainey to offer the invocation at the Houston National Cemetery this Memorial Day weekend along with the stipulation his prayer be subjected to approval and editing. According to a story by Terri Langford in the Houston Chronicle, Rev. Rainey was originally told he couldn’t use the words “Jesus Christ” at the close of his prayer; they have since relented.

“Rainey’s prayer, less than a page long, includes the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and closes with one reference to Jesus: “While respecting people of every faith today, it is in the name of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, that I pray. Amen.

Rainey was instructed by the cemetery to submit his prayer for review a month ago. Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio then emailed Rainey on May 19, informing the pastor that the prayer was still in need of editing.”

The issue of whether or not individuals have the right to express religious views in public has been under fire and likely the powers of darkness will never cease their attempts to eradicate references to God or His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ; however the Supreme Court has on previous occasions upheld an individual’s constitutional protection of free speech in the public square, even on religious matters.

“The government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity,” (U.S. District Judge Lynn) Hughes wrote in his order, granting the Rev. Scott Rainey’s motion for the court to intercede. “The right to free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rants.”

However, even with the dispute seemingly defused, others were not especially pleased; expressing less enthusiastic reservations. An old Ricky Nelson tune comes to mind, “You see you can’t please everyone, so, you have to please yourself…”

Rabbi Mark J. Miller, of Congregation Beth Israel, called Rainey’s prayer “beautiful,” but said that “it is a prayer to which I and many others cannot say ‘Amen.'”

I once heard a wonderfully related story about a good Christian who’d been invited to a Jewish family meal. Being a close friend and honored guest, the fellow was asked to bless the meal, “…but please respect my insistence that you not close your prayer “in the name of Jesus Christ,” the host quietly implored. Had there not been considerable mutual respect, such an opportunity could not have come about and so the blessing was carried out; carefully and thoughtfully ending, “…in the name of the God of Abraham, the God of Jacob and the God of Isaac, Amen.”

At the close of the prayer the host added his “Amen.” He then smiled toward his friend, adding, “You did it any way, didn’t you?” Would it have mattered had that prayer ended, “in the name of Nature’s God,” “Our Creator” or “the Prince of Peace;” don’t they all refer to the same Individual?

Memorial Day serves as an opportunity to consider the miraculous journey our nation has had from its inception. We recognize God’s hand in all things; Providence acknowledged in securing victory and preserving us a nation. He is the source of comfort as we honor those who gave their all in defending liberty.

When we close our prayer, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” withhold your “Amen” if you must; but isn’t that narrow minded? A form of ingratitude seeing as your Creator and mine happen to be one and the same?

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”



Read more at The Blaze…

He never had a chance. He didn’t even have the safety off on the weapon. They just started shooting when they saw him. A Marine who was only 26, who served two tours of duty, shot because he had a gun in his hands. His gun in his house. He did nothing illegal. He was asleep when they arrived – his wife woke him because she saw men in black outside. He told his wife and child to hide in the closet and he grabbed his gun to protect them. He died protecting his family. That could have been any of us. Think about it…



By: Fern Sidman

Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans For A Safe Israel (AFSI), has announced that their upcoming semi-annual “Chizuk” mission to Israel will be dedicated to the memory of their beloved chairman Herbert Zweibon, Z’L who passed away in January of 2011. The tour will run from May 29th through June 7th.

Having founded AFSI in 1970 out of a deep concern for the future of Israel, Mr. Zweibon is best remembered for his generosity, kindness and tireless devotion to the Jewish people and the land of Israel. “Herb was the heart and soul of our organization and a stalwart advocate for the rights of Jews to live anywhere in the land of Israel. The most fitting tribute we could pay to this exemplary “Ohev Yisroel” (lover of the Jewish people) is to dedicate our Spring Chizuk mission to his extraordinary life and legacy”, said Ms. Freedman in a statement to the media.

Coming on the heels of some tense times for Israel is terms of the dramatic foreign policy shift emanating from Washington, the focus of the trip will be the celebration of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) and visits to crucial sites in Judea and Samaria. “The Prime Minister of Israel addressed the status of Jerusalem in his speech before the joint sessions of Congress, and we at AFSI are here to reiterate our steadfast support for Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided, and only capital of the Jewish nation” declared Ms. Freedman.

In terms of Israeli retention of settlement blocs in any future peace deal with the Palestinians, Ms. Freedman said, “When we hear the words ‘painful concessions’ spoken by Prime Minister Netanyahu, we know exactly what that translates in to. We are also mindful that the prospect of removing Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria is totally unacceptable and thoroughly intolerable. Based on previous negotiations, we know that the Arabs will never utter those six magical words, “I will accept a Jewish state”. We fervently pray, however, that no more token concessions and “sacrifices for peace” will be necessary to appease the enemy appetite.”

With these sentiments in mind, participants in the AFSI Spring Chizuk mission will be visiting the former residents of Gush Katif now living new communities in the southern part of Israel. In addition, a very special visit will be paid to the beleaguered town of Sderot where a new soccer field has been built with contributions from AFSI members. Under the guidance of Israel Danziger of Mishmeret Yesha the tour members will also be visiting the residents of Gush Etzion, Hebron and the Hebron Hills. It is there that the AFSI members will get some hands-on training in rifle practice under the tutelage of the Mishmeret Yesha rapid response team.

Yom Yerushalayim will be spent in a grand and glorious fashion as tour members partake in an ebullient celebration of the day that Jerusalem was liberated from Arab forces by joining a gala dinner at Beit Orot, while rejoicing with them upon the completion of new apartments for Jews at Shimon HaTzaddik. No AFSI trip to Israel would be complete without a visit to the Temple Mount, and as in previous years, the tour will be led by Rabbi Chaim Richman of The Temple Institute. Having the rare and unique opportunity to celebrate the privilege of being present in Israel’s capital city; this most special day will be enhanced by an enlightening tour of East Jerusalem and the Old City, led by Dan Luria, executive director of Ateret Cohanim.

Providing succor for communities that might be threatened with expulsion also takes precedence in the AFSI itinerary. As such, the tour will proceed to such settlements as Shilo, Chavat Gilad and Itamar, among many others. Heading north, a visit to the mixed city of Carmiel will take place, where many Jews feel that they are under demographic siege by the influx of Arabs into their city. Trips to Haifa, Tzfat, Kiryat Shemona, the Golan Heights and such locations in the Jordan Valley as Hemdat, Maskiot, Massua and Mevo’ot Yericho are also planned. The tour members will also engage as active participants in meetings with prominent personalities in the settlement movement. Among them are: Professor Steven Plaut of the University of Haifa, Rabbi Adam Kennisberg of the Yeshivat Hesder in Akko, Nadia Matar, MK Effie Eitam, Aharon Pulver of the Israel Independence Fund, Sephy Choter and Ramona Bar-Lev, wife of Sami Bar-Lev, the mayor of Katzrin.