A Christian Response: To What?

Jun 7, 2015

by Herb Silverman

When I heard that a Christian Renewal prayer rally called “The Response” would be coming to the largest auditorium in my hometown of Charleston on June 13, I mostly said to myself, “Ho-hum, here we go again with another unproductive prayerfest.” But my interest piqued when I learned that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley endorsed the event and is heavily promoting it. She will be the only celebrity on stage as she welcome attendees and begins the prayer. While Governor Haley is inviting people of all faiths (perhaps even atheists?) to attend, I expect many would be uncomfortable at a prayer rally led only by evangelical Christians whose stated purpose is to exalt the name of Jesus (and nobody else).

Here are 5 questions about the event, along with my answers.

1. Who is behind The Response?

David Lane, president and founder of the American Renewal Project, is the leading backer of such events. Though billed as apolitical, Lane organized similar “apolitical” rallies in Texas and Louisiana. Governor Rick Perry spoke at the Texas event in 2011, just before he announced as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate. Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at the Louisiana event in January, and might soon announce as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate. Lane wants a religious right army to pick the next president. He believes homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America, and he thinks Christianity should be the official religion of the United States.

2. Is Governor Haley’s action legal?

As a private citizen, or even as governor, Nikki Haley may attend any event she wants. But it became legally problematic when Governor Haley issued an open invitation to The Response written on official letterhead with the Seal of the Governor of South Carolina. She also made a video in her office encouraging all citizens to attend and join her in prayer to Jesus. When religious events are tied to elected officials and appear to be sponsored by the government, this sends a message to those of other faiths and none that they are second-class citizens. Governor Haley is free to tell everyone she is a Christian, but she should not use her office to promote Christianity. Government must not favor one religion over another or religion over non-religion.

Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

50 comments on “A Christian Response: To What?

  • 1
    flyingfsck says:

    Religious Right, is a euphemism for good old fashioned fascism. It doesn’t matter whether it is Catholic, Protestant or Muslim. The religious cloak/veil/collar is just camouflage for the fascists to hide behind.



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  • 2
    mombird says:

    Poor Jesus, he has been the butt boy for any and all atrocities including the marriage of religion and politics. I say less prayer and more positive action and leave Jesus alone!



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  • I’m sorry the governor didn’t try to bring people of all faiths and none together for a service day to make a real impact on problems in our community. Our local non-prophet group in Charleston, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, is organizing such inclusive events on June 13. While some evangelicals will be clasping their hands in prayer, many of us will be using our hands in projects that include feeding the hungry at Lowcountry Food Bank and building a wheelchair ramp as part of Operation Home. Similarly, Myrtle Beach Humanists and Freethinkers in South Carolina has organized a Humanist Day of Service. Relying on a god to save us is no substitute for fixing things ourselves. Leadership involves getting things done, not leading a mass appeal for a god to do it for us.

    It took me about 30 seconds on Google to find examples of Christian groups in Charleston using their hands to help others in practical projects. I suspect these groups are supported and possibly inspired by prayer. That’s what tends to happen when you pray for guidance. You are guided.



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  • 4
    mombird says:

    That’s what tends to happen when you pray for guidance. You are
    guided.

    That’s true of a Ouija Board, an hypnotic trance, hallucinogens, palm reading, séances, and the like!



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  • Our local non-prophet group in Charleston…

    (I had to go back to re-read the original article to see that the typo -or was it a Freudian slip? – was not yours but theirs.) 😉



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  • That’s what tends to happen when you pray for guidance. You are guided.

    I think prayer makes you mindful of the values you’re supposed to be applying to opportunities that arise in your life. If you have a liberal god then I guess you’ll make decisions that are more or less indistinguishable from everyone else’s, and have the chance to be guided to enriching experiences.

    However, if you’re a fundamentalist or extremist you will likely find a lot about life in a modern society unbearable, and see far fewer choices as being available to you than a moderate would. God’s guidance may be clearer though.* But it can lead to poor decisions too e.g. being guided to quit a job to avoid supporting the homosexual owners, or to believe the appropriate approach to an abusive relationship is to return hate with more love.

    I think a good question for you to ask would be, why god would never guide you to do anything so stupid as the fundamentalist? Maybe you just think god hates other people. 🙂

    *I bet fundamentalists and extremists definitely feel more strongly than moderates that god is guiding their lives.



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  • Do Americans get taught about the constitution in school? I have seen so many flagrant violations it looks as if the politicians don’t even know they are breaking the law.



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  • Roedy
    Jun 9, 2015 at 12:56 am
    .
    Do Americans get taught about the constitution in school? I have seen so many flagrant violations it looks as if the politicians don’t even know they are breaking the law.

    It was my experience with UK school governing bodies, that priests and other governors in some “faith schools”, confident in “knowing what was right and wrong”, from Cannon Law, did not even bother reading legal guidance or regulations, and did not attend training or consultation meetings.
    When the government made it a statutory requirement, for schools to have written policy documents, theirs were full of illegality and errors.
    When everyone else discussed and compared these at consultation meetings which were arranged to give legal advice, and to check and correct errors, their representatives were absent from those meetings, as they normally did not bother to send representatives!
    They were advised in writing by officials, to correct the policies, but of course still had no idea what they were doing.



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  • A Christian response to a problem is prayer!

    it seems the effectiveness of this has been recently tested, – offering poor results, when compared with using competent scientific and technical staff for maintenance work:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-33059061

    The two women say they had “prayed so much” while trapped in the lift

    .Two nuns have been rescued from a lift in Rome after being trapped for three days without food and water.

    The 69-year-old from New Zealand and a 58-year-old Irish nun became stuck on Friday at the Marist convent after an electrical power failure.

    They cried out for help but there was no-one in the building over the weekend, Italian media said.

    They were discovered on Monday by a cleaner who called police after ringing the doorbell and receiving no reply.

    The police entered the building and called out if anyone was there and the nuns replied: “Yes, we are here, in the elevator”, according to Il Messaggero.



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  • It’s disturbing enough that people are electing officials that embrace these bizarre prejudices because of religion, but to further embolden and empower them helps no one, including the very people that started this ball rolling.

    Additionally it bothers me that people like this continue to speak out against homosexuality as if it will bring down the end times when people have been gay for about as long as there have been people. It underlies a willing ignorance that makes people like this more dangerous because they actively ignore important truths that would eliminate this delusional thinking.

    More disturbing is this idea of the US being a Christian nation and trying to further the idea by gathering the willfully ignorant to embolden an idea that many of the founding fathers have already shot down. This is about control plain and simple. They want a theocracy.

    So the Response is more of a reinforcement of religious ignorance to better position those of like mind to further build an erroneous position. Without so much as a single bit of evidence that Jesus in the NT ever spoke about homosexuality or that the writers of the constitution ever said anything about a Christian nation, but deciding to organize these weird congregations on behalf of both because they don’t care about what those people said, only what they strongly (and rather mistakenly) believe.



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  • 11
    Pinball1970 says:

    “That’s what tends to happen when you pray for guidance. You are guided.”

    The concept of asking a creator god to change his mind on something seems arrogant to me now.

    As Catholics we were told not to pray for anything petty or self serving.

    I am sure I prayed for my granddad to be spared when it looked like he may succumb to his pneumonia.

    He died of course, just like all young cancer patients who have god fearing relatives praying for them every day.

    I do agree on one thing you have said, I am sure the 911 suicide bombers were “guided” once they had prayed to be successful in their mission to kill as many civilians as possible.

    The only difference between me and you is that to me, prayer is a conversation with oneself, not anyone else.



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  • 12
    Pinball1970 says:

    Plenty of anecdotes like this Alan

    Some are comical they are so cruelly ironic but the penny never seems to drop for them does it?

    Some guy was killed praying for Pope John Paul 2nd during his mass for his canonization.

    A massive effigy of jesus fell on him.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10786410/Man-crushed-to-death-by-giant-crucifix-dedicated-to-Pope.html

    Less comical stories you will find at places like concentration camps, Lourdes and in hospital chapels near oncology units.



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  • 13
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    I suspect these groups are supported and possibly inspired by prayer.

    Well that’s kind of a no-brainer. Unless you know of any Christian groups that aren’t into praying? Saying that you suspect a Christian group of being supported by prayer is like saying that you suspect your automobile runs on gasoline (petrol for our British friends). Not saying much really.

    That’s what tends to happen when you pray for guidance. You are guided.

    That strikes a key note. One of the most important differences between religious and non-religious people: when we need guidance, we go to each other. Friends, family, co-workers and you know what? Ask enough people and you will usually get real, tangible guidance from people who DO listen and DO care and on many occasions DO provide the guidance you need.

    Those relationships are the important ones to cultivate and cherish, not the one with the imaginary bearded father figure in the sky. When you pray for guidance, you are on your own. And if turns out that “you are guided”, then please give yourself the credit for it because that simply means you figured it out on your own.



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  • It was no typo. The back of our Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry T-shirts has our slogan: “A non-prophet organization.” It’s one of my favorite puns.



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  • Not saying much really.

    If a group is inspired by prayer to provide practical support for people in need then that is saying something, isn’t it?

    One of the most important differences between religious and non-religious people: when we need guidance, we go to each other.

    But religious people do that too. We’re really quite similar in many ways.



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  • A Christian response to a problem is prayer!
    it seems the effectiveness of this has been recently tested, – offering poor results, when compared with using competent scientific and technical staff for maintenance work:-

    What’s your basis for concluding that prayer offered poor results in this case?



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  • Ewan
    Jun 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    What’s your basis for concluding that prayer offered poor results in this case?

    No progress in 3 days for a job an engineer could have fixed in less than half an hour!



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  • No progress in 3 days…

    The purpose of prayer is to draw us closer to God. I’m not sure how you’re measuring the progress made in this during the Lift-gate incident.



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  • Ewan
    Jun 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    No progress in 3 days

    The purpose of prayer is to draw us closer to God. I’m not sure how you’re measuring the progress made in this during the Lift-gate incident.

    . . . . and the lift did not rise up to a higher floor to let them out?? 🙂



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  • Since the nuns were able to spend much of the time in prayer, I suspect there was spectacular progress in their journey to God!



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  • Ewan
    Jun 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Since the nuns were able to spend much of the time in prayer, I suspect there was spectacular progress in their journey to God!

    With long-standing professionals at prayer, and three whole days without distractions, you would have thought they could manage at least one floor up! 🙂



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  • I’m a Christian, and I do not want a Christian theocracy in the US (or any other for that matter). It would be interesting to take a poll of a representative sample of Christians on whether a theocracy would be favored. I know there would be those who would favor such a rule. My perception (and hope) is that the vast majority would be against a theocracy. I see no signs that the result would be otherwise. The Christians I know, like myself, believe that the U.S. constitution provides the fairest and most protective umbrella for all world views. This view is also shared by many Christian governmental figures of various political persuasions.

    If such a push for a Christian theocracy were to come, it would have happened by now. Hats off to the the Founding Fathers, a significant number whom, if not Christian, were influenced by a Judeo-Christian heritage, along secular ideas of government, decided to erect the wall of separation of church and state. Of course, how “high” that wall is part of the continuing debate and conflict. Welcome to a society still pointed toward a free and open discussion of ideas.



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  • Interesting Rodan, you claim your a Christian, but never seem to turn the other cheek when confronted by Godzilla.

    If I have you confused with someone else then I apologize. And if so let me say that your not the kind of Christian most atheist have a problem with.



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  • that is saying something, isn’t it?

    Point is, to do so would be redundant, as it’s a given that Christian groups pray.

    religious people do that too

    Mr. Silverman is making a much needed public point that the non-religious exist. Plus, the important addendum that these ventures are inclusive. National Day of Reason and Camp Quest operate this way.

    Few years back, Atheists helped a u.s. town after a tornado. But you wouldn’t know it, as we cats don’t show up wearing shirts emblazoned with something like ‘Church of Christ’. No middle-man (God) is needed – simply A > B.



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  • Ryan,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I assume you are referring to the Japanese Sci-Fi movie duet of Godzilla and Rodan. As a child, I remember seeing a number of these films. I recall seeing the monster bird, Rodan, flying with exhaust (?) coming out its (his/her) tail. (After I post this, I’m going to check this out on You Tube to make sure I’m correct.) I’m a little bit of a flake at times, so I picked the name. I don’t think I ever saw a film featuring Godzilla vs. Rodan. I’ll check that out too.

    As laid out in the New Covenant, Christ followers are not to coerce conversion. It has to be of free will. If not, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Obviously, throughout history coercion has occurred through due to corruption of the message, largely through theocratic systems (states with nationally-designated religions) or social pressure.



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  • …it’s a given that Christian groups pray.

    It doesn’t seem to be a given that Christian groups have been known to act in practical ways to help neighbours in need as a result of the support and inspiration offered by prayer.

    Mr. Silverman is making a much needed public point that the non-religious exist.

    He also seems to be suggesting that non-religious groups which support the needy, such as the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, are “better far” than we prayers.



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  • rodan :

    As laid out in the New Covenant, Christ followers are not to coerce conversion. It has to be of free will.

    So the “fiery lake”, that Jesus himself promised the likes of unbelievers such as myself, is just a wee bit of poetic licence ?

    Phew, it really had me scared for a bit then !



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  • Ewan:

    What’s your basis for concluding that prayer offered poor results in this case?

    The lift didn’t move for 3 days despite the nuns’ prayers. In the end it took human beings to sort out the problem. People can die of dehydration after 3 days without water. If the nuns really prayed to be closer to God, rather than to be released from their predicament, then maybe the nuns prayed the wrong prayers ? Or maybe God wasn’t listening, or more likely, there is no God !



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  • It doesn’t seem to be a given […]

    Because it is hearsay.

    He also seems to be suggesting[…]

    Well thought out reasonable statements are often misconstrued as arrogance.

    It’s silly, but I employ what would Kang and Kodos think? (observing Earthlings from space ship). A totally objective being would probably wonder why superfluous talk is interjected between A > B.



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  • I think it is true that fascists may be attracted to religion to enforce their world view on others. In reality secularists evolved socialism and communism to enforce their views on others. I think in reality, there are good sides to religion and to secularism/atheism and there are bad sides to both. The real underlying problem is the apparent obsession of human beings to try to force their views on others, either by violence or by ridicule. I am open to diversity of views and opinions, but one of the things that I find most irritating about Richard Dawkins, even though I share his underlying secularist views, is his endless desire to ridicule people who differ from him.



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  • DavidPun
    Jun 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I am open to diversity of views and opinions,

    I am also open to a diversity of views, but they need to be evidence based reasoned views, not whimsical nonsense.

    but one of the things that I find most irritating about Richard Dawkins, even though I share his underlying secularist views, is his endless desire to ridicule people who differ from him.

    I have not seen examples of him using ridicule simply because people differ. What I have seen is ridiculing the ridiculous views of people who have closed minds and are not open to evidenced science or logical reasoning, and who still differ in the face of massively substantiated evidence they are wrong.

    There are whimsical opinions, and there are expert scientific opinions.
    It is rather silly to pretend these are of equal merit!

    Astronomers DO ridicule dedicated Flat-Earthists – and Young Earthists! – Especially if they find them pontificating to vulnerable audiences or children!



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  • Ewan
    Jun 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Since the nuns were able to spend much of the time in prayer, I suspect there was spectacular progress in their journey to God!

    Anyway according to Xtian myth, don’t they get to meet god quicker if the cable snaps??



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  • …then maybe the nuns prayed the wrong prayers ?

    My own feeling is that there are no such things as “the wrong prayers”. When we pray, we are turning to God. We may be doing so for all kinds of selfish, even sinful, reasons. But we are turning to God and that is always the right thing to do.



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  • I am open to diversity of views and opinions, but one of the things
    that I find most irritating about Richard Dawkins, even though I share
    his underlying secularist views, is his endless desire to ridicule
    people who differ from him.

    He probably wouldn’t have to be so vocal if his wasn’t virtually the only voice out there.



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  • Mr. Silverman is making a much needed public point that the non-religious exist. Plus, the important addendum that these ventures are inclusive.

    Not in the case of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry which Herb Silverman mentioned. It describes itself as an organization of atheists, agnostics, skeptics and other freethinkers. That strikes me as having elements of exclusivism (which, of course, it is perfectly entitled to have.)



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  • Few years back, Atheists helped a u.s. town after a tornado. But you wouldn’t know it, as we cats don’t show up wearing shirts emblazoned with something like ‘Church of Christ’.

    The humanists from Lehigh Valley do when they’re providing Christmas dinners for the homeless and retirees according to this link.



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  • It describes itself as an organization of atheists, agnostics, skeptics and other freethinkers. That strikes me as having elements of exclusivism (which, of course, it is perfectly entitled to have.)

    Do you exclude yourself from the categories of skeptics and other freethinkers?



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  • Do you exclude yourself from the categories of skeptics and other freethinkers?

    I think there are probably lots of people who wouldn’t label themselves in that way. I wouldn’t myself.



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  • Ewan :

    If a group is inspired by prayer to provide practical support for people in need then that is saying something, isn’t it?

    The point is, with an almighty God watching over His creation, why are there any ‘people in need‘ ? Does He just relish looking at 20,000 kids dying every single day of poverty related causes, doesn’t He care, or is He too weak to do anything about it ? Or more likely, is He an imaginary person ?

    Yep seems that way !



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  • How do you turn “to God” when He is claimed to be everywhere , even in Dave Allen’s famous cupboard under the stairs ? It would seem to be impossible to miss Him ! Yes He was in that lift with the nuns, yes He heard their prayers, close as He was. But in His omniscience He thought (maybe), : “We’ll let these suckers really appreciate my grace when the engineers arrive on Monday !”



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  • How do you turn “to God” when He is claimed to be everywhere…

    By opening our hearts and minds to him. His presence is available to us at all times and in all places but we shut ourselves off from him through our selfishness and lack of love.



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  • Or more likely, is He an imaginary person ?

    Whether God is imaginary or not, isn’t a group inspired by prayer to provide practical support for people in need saying something?



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  • Ewan

    …but we shut ourselves off from him through our selfishness and lack
    of love.

    Absolutely inexcusable! The theist method of operation:

    Either accept god’s love or…
    Be shamed into accepting god’s love or…
    Be afraid of hell if you still do not accept god’s love

    Looks like you picked door #2, Ewan.



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  • Ewan
    Jun 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    How do you turn “to God” when He is claimed to be everywhere…

    By opening our hearts and minds to him. His presence is available to us at all times and in all places

    Why would an imaginary master dominating the believer’s head, not be noticeable by its host at all times? – and of course, its reflected image would be visible when looking in all directions and it would be carried along to all places.



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  • On the catholic guidelines on prayer, reminds me of the old joke:

    When I was a kid, I prayed for a bike. But once I understood that’s not how prayer works, I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness.



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  • On the catholic guidelines on prayer, reminds me of the old joke:
    When I was a kid, I prayed for a bike. But once I understood that’s not how prayer works, I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness.

    Though, of course, forgiveness would require repentance of what you had done. Obviously you would have to return the bike; but how could you make up for the hurt you had caused?



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