By Eric Kleefeld
Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.
We have video of the astonishing scene, and we'll be sharing it with you shortly.
The three protesters, who all belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, and who apparently traveled to Washington all the way from North Carolina, interrupted by loudly asking for God's forgiveness for allowing the false prayer of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.
"Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight," the first protester began.
"This is an abomination," he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), serving as the presiding officer for the morning, immediately ordered them taken away — though they continued to yell at the Hindu cleric as they were headed out the door, shouting out phrases such as, "No Lord but Jesus Christ!" and "There's only one true God!"
The cleric, Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada, was visibly nervous and uncomfortable as he then delivered the morning prayer. But to his credit, he soon regained his footing and was able to make it through in a dignified fashion.
For their part, Operation Save America put out an interesting press release, claiming responsibility for the protests and castigating Senators for not joining in:
Theology Moved to the Senate and was Arrested
Theology has moved from the church house onto the floor of the United States Senate, and has been arrested.
Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god. The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ. This would never have been allowed by our Founding Fathers. (bolding mine)
"Not one Senator had the backbone to stand as our Founding Fathers stood. They stood on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There were three in the audience with the courage to stand and proclaim, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' They were immediately removed from the chambers, arrested, and are in jail now. God bless those who stand for Jesus as we know that He stands for them." Rev. Flip Benham, Director, Operation Save America/Operation Rescue
A call for comment to Benham has not been returned as of this writing.
Never mind being raised a Hindu. Never mind that I believe the U.S. government should have NO prayer at ALL inside of OUR governmental buildings for which WE provide the money.
I take issue with the comment about the Founding Fathers.
Now, it would be easy to simply say that no one can know what the Founding Fathers would have wanted, but again, it would be too "easy".
Instead, what I would like to briefly argue is what I believe to be the real objectives of the Founding Fathers:
1. They weren't perfect. We aren't perfect. They built a system in which they knew no perfect people would ever be apart of. They made it in such a way that even if the nuttiest person ever made it to a high position (ahem), there would be a way to remove them. This is quite unlike having a bat-shit insane king, such as George III. The idea was to make sure the jobs rotate around, just in case someone sucks. Even super perfect awesome American George Washington a) served two four-year terms as President and b) VOLUNTARILY went home after that. He probably realized no man should get into his job forever, which is why he wanted to be a President and not a King.
2. Things change, but maybe not for conservative America. The Founding Fathers were painfully aware that times and people change. What worked in 1787 America would not work in 1987 America, despite what the Reagan era would have you believe. The Founding Fathers knew they weren't the only ones with good ideas, despite what Operation Save America would like you to think. They knew that new generations of Americans would come along and have better ideas than them, and so they made our government as flexible as they could while still having some reasonable boundaries in order to give shape to the nation they wanted in 1787.
While Operation Save America and many others, including the Bush administration, would have you believe that the Constitution is not a living document, I offer this: Why would the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-awesome Founding Fathers allow changes to be made to their document if they did not intend for further generations to make changes.
This brings me to a wonderful tangent: Gay marriage. Christian conservatives want a Constitutional Amendment banning marriage between homosexuals. Isn't this against their own logic about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers?
I propose the following: Gay marriage is already legal because the Founding Fathers, who apparently wrote a static system of governance, did not mention Gay Marriage.
These Christian Activists are ruining our country!