This is the beauty of faith. A neutral observer might view the Arizona Legislature as a gathering of (mostly male) egomaniacs whose most overweening desire in life is to get their hineys smooched by their lessers on their way to crawling out of the crab-bucket of the Legislature by earning promotion to the Arizona Senate, or Governor’s office, or a job in Washington. Now that they have been blessed by a mercenary Baptist minister, however, a Christian must necessarily believe they are a force for good in the world.
Amen.This column has never advocated atheists praying in the first place. It’s like asking someone to put on scuba gear and jump out of an airplane. Nothing good will come of it. Of course, there’s no real evidence that any good comes out of religious people praying, but they know how. They’re not going to embarrass themselves like this atheist guy in Arizona, who called on his fellow legislators to “honor the Constitution and the secular equality it brings.”
These sentiments appalled other legislators nearly as much as coming upon a flattened corpse in a wetsuit lying on the ground. Representative Warren Peterson said, when comparing the traditional prayer with the atheist episcopal, “You know what it looks like, you know what it is, it has a long-standing tradition," Peterson said. "We also know what it looks like when somebody is desecrating and mocking someone else's beliefs."
As far as we can tell, no one has mentioned to Representative Peterson that having a backup Baptist in the bullpen ready to toe the rubber for Jesus the minute the atheist finished his invocation was being fairly contemptuous of the atheist's beliefs, but this is reflective of one of the strongest tenets of Christianity, which is that only Christians are entitled to desecrate and mock other people’s beliefs, while they should be immune from such attacks themselves. Every December they howl at their faith’s desecration when some seditious atheist pays for an atheist billboard while they erect hundreds of billboards urging the nation to “Keep Christ in Christmas” without showing a trace of concern about mocking the belief that some people harbor, which is that the only difference between God and Santa Claus is that eventually your parents have to tell you there is no Santa Claus.
Not to be outdone by the Legislature, the Phoenix City Council restored its public prayer seshes last week, having canceled them for a month because a group with “Satan” in its name had signed up to deliver the prayer. For those of you who have never been to Phoenix, it is a sprawling dust-bowl of parking lots, mini-marts and golf courses that bake at temperatures that are sometimes too high for planes to take off from its airport in the summer. If Satan had to choose a home town, Phoenix might very well be it, and a formal nod to the Prince of Darkness before attempting to govern this blight on the desert would be a sensible way of hedging one’s municipal bets, in the opinion of this column.
But the City Council wouldn’t have that; the public prayers will now only be performed by chaplains of the Police and Fire Departments.
They probably needed the work anyway.