We Pray Too: A Report From The Bible Belt
Article ID: 2985
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,134
Times Read: 16,666
Author: Diotima Mantineia [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: September 9th. 2000
Times Viewed: 16,666
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men."
It must be tough being a Bible-based fundamentalist Christian. After all, if you take it literally the book is a study in contradictions, not to mention advocating a host of currently unfashionable ideas, such as selling your daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7), slaughtering goats to expiate one's sins (Leviticus 16), and of course, that business about God creating the earth in 7 days. However, one would think that despite the difficulty of following all of the Bible's injunctions, the words of Jesus might merit some special attention from a Christian.
But, no. 25, 000 Christians clogged the roads here in Asheville, North Carolina a few weeks ago to make a public spectacle of their prayers at a high school football game. They believe that not being able to broadcast their prayers over the loudspeaker at a football game is a violation of their First Amendment rights, and they were bound and determined to let the Supreme Court and everyone else know it.
The rally was sponsored by a group called We Still Pray, which encapsulates the extreme views of a number of Christians in this country who feel that America should be an explicitly Christian nation. Links from the group's Web site (www.westillpray.com) lead to diatribes on how teaching evolution in schools is teaching the "religion" of secular humanism, and to lyrics of a popular song that repeats several times "THE ARMY OF GOD THAT HAS BEEN SILENT FOR TOO LONG IS TAKING AMERICA BACK!" (Caps are the author's)
(Not so fast, guys [Yes, just guys. According to that same song, it's men who "stand for right". Women just "champion" their men's causes]. We Pagans don't take kindly to having our religious freedoms trampled on, nor to living in a theocracy. We've got news for youif you raise an army, you'll find that you have a real fight on your hands.)
It's likely that the "We Still Pray" movement will become national quicklyit has already become a national story in the mediaso look for it in your area soon. There are a lot of red and white "We Still Pray" bumper stickers around here; in response, Byron Ballard, a local priestess who was the driving force behind last year's successful Earth Religions Awareness Week in Asheville, came up with the idea of a bumper sticker that features a pentagram with the words "We Pray Too". I've made that into a .jpg file (see below) in a shade I call "Pagan Green". :-) You can save it to your hard drive (just right click on the graphic and choose "save image as"), print it out, and tape it to your bumper.
If you don't have a color printer, or if the image is too jaggy, email me (be sure to put "bumper sticker" as the subject line), and I will send you a Pagemaker file you can put on a diskette and take to your local Kinko's, where you can log onto one of their computers, open the file in Pagemaker, and print to their color printer. You'll get better color that way, too. If you'd like to get some real bumper stickers made up, this same file will be accepted by almost any printer who accepts digital files.
The Pagan community here in Asheville is quite active, and a "We Still Work Magic" rally will be held at the same local high school that hosted the "We Still Pray" one, on Wednesday, September 20th at 7:00 p.m.(There is no football game or other event being held there that evening). It's sponsored by the Appalachian Pagan Alliance, and you can find out more about it at http://www.angelfire.com/nb/appalachianpagan , or email Ginger Strivelli at Lady_Ginger_S@gocubs.com . I'll be at the rally. If you live near Asheville, please join us if you can!
I hope that more moderate Christiansthose who do not feel it necessary to abridge the religious freedoms of others in order to practice their ownwill speak out in defense of religious tolerance. At least one person did just that in the letters to the editor of a local paper the other day. He said, in part;
"In all, it seems better if we pray in silence, of our own accord, and not for a show of piety. Too much of what passes for public prayer today is actually a demonstration, sometimes a show of defiance of civil authority. If it's done in a spirit of defiance, we must ask, is it still prayer? Or something else?" I think it's something else, Reverend Grady. Definitely something else.
The Rev. Charles W. Grady
Associate Editor - The Witches' Voice
Location: Hendersonville, North Carolina
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