Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pennsylvania Legislature Makes Prayer a Farce

The Pennsylvania House invites religious leaders to open legislative sessions, but requires a prior written submittal of the prayer, and yield to editing to ensure only "nondenominational prayers" are spoken.

-- From "State House edits 'Jesus' from pastor's prayer" by Erin James, For the York Daily Record/Sunday News [Pennsylvania] 6/30/2009

[Rev. Gerry] Stoltzfoos had been invited by state Rep. Will Tallman, R-Reading Township, Adams County, to open Tuesday's session of the House with a prayer as guest chaplain. The pastor declined the invitation after someone on [House Speaker] McCall's staff told him he could not use Jesus' name in the prayer. . . . a new policy of Pennsylvania's Speaker of the House, Keith McCall, D-Carbon County.

The policy -- not yet three months old -- requires guest chaplains to first submit their prayers in writing and then, if deemed necessary, agree to change their words to meet "nondenominational" guidelines established by McCall's staff.

It is not an attempt to silence religious leaders, McCall spokesman Bob Caton said, but rather an effort to prevent taxpayers from having to foot the bill of a lawsuit if someone objects to a prayer's contents and chooses to sue the state.

State Rep. Dan Moul, R-Conewago Township, Adams County -- whose district includes Straban Township, where Pastor Gerry Stoltzfoos' church is located -- said he also objects to the prayer policy.

"I personally don't think it's reasonable because our country was founded on Christian-Judeo beliefs. That's who started our government," Moul said. "We should never be ashamed to speak about our Christian beliefs. That's what our prayers are for."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.

This article was re-published by the source 7/22/09.