Censor Public Prayer?

On Thursday January 14th, 2010 Pastor Brad Cranston of Heritage Baptist Church, Burlington, Iowa; said the opening prayer for the Iowa House of Representatives.  Later that day, a ruling was made that all future opening prayers that will be said in the House be written out and submitted for approval before usage. 

Whose approval?

What criteria?

Isn’t that opening a rather sticky mess of coercing religious leaders to become politically correct?

Of course, the reference in the prayer to marriage being between a man and a woman; in a state that allows gay marriage, may have created a stir.

Is prayer the time to address issues?  Or to address God???

When I had the opportunity to open the House in prayer a few years ago, I asked God’s forgiveness for our sins, and asked for wisdom to make right choices.  ( I pray regularly that God will guide our leaders in their decisions.) No one seemed upset in the least.  Most of us recognize that we fall short, and that we could all use some divine guidance or help.

Should public prayer be censored?        No.

Should public prayers be carefully worded?     Yes.

Are public prayers an invitation to preach?    No.

I do not believe that prayers should need to be pre-approved.  I also believe that religious leaders who are asked to pray for public events, balance the need for religious integrity, with a sensitivity to the diverse views of others.

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10 Responses to “Censor Public Prayer?”

  1. Jer DeLoach Says:

    Good for you. I agree

  2. Duane Moraine Says:

    Curt: I have read a number of your “whisper”s. Enjoyed them much. About prayer in such public places, Matt. 6:5-8. Motivation for prayer is the heart of the matter. The legislature does not see prayer with the same scope as the evangelical minister.

  3. agenda « Living Life in a Fish Bowl! Says:

    […] So I am listening to the Christian radio station the other day and I hear this interview with a minister that gave the opening prayer at the Iowa House of Representatives.  The outcome of his prayer is that future ministers will now have to submit their prayer ahead of time for approval.  Censorship? or did he go to far?   Check out another blog on this topic by clicking here. […]

  4. Russell Kinney Says:

    Curt,
    ROCK N roll… WHAT you say is correct… the question is… will the state house listen… my bet is they won’t… regardless of how hard we try… now change those who legislate… that that’s a different matter… great words of wisdom… but then again… wisdom seems to be the lost commodity.
    Russell

  5. Ruthie Oberg Says:

    Whoa….hadn’t heard about that news! Thanks for the heads up…I am with you in your perspective and have often felt that “prayers” were addressing the “audience” more than the “Almighty.” I find, as a minister, that it is sometimes tempting to preach during the prayer and have taken to often writing public prayers out before hand. I do believe in extemporaneous prayer…but written prayers have their place, too. However, I wouldn’t want a legislator waiting to approve it. Wow…

    • Pastor Curt Says:

      According to the interview with Pastor Cranston on WDLM, his prayer was written out. He said what he meant to say. I wonder if he would say the same things again, now that he knows the consequences of his words?

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