A new trend is sweeping across the United States in many places where chaplains are employed. They’re being ordered by leaders in both the public and private sectors not to make mention of God. As reported on Saturday, March 21, 2009 by Stefan J. Bos of Worthy News, Virginia State Police chaplains who prayed in Jesus’ name in public settings were dismissed from their jobs. Virginia lawmakers, with the urging of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, supported an administrative decision to make it illegal to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and to dismiss the chaplains based on that decision.
This move prompted a Florida hospice to order its chaplains not to use the word God in any talks they give to staff members, but they can still say “Almighty God” in private with hospice patients and their families. The CEO of the hospice, Paula Alderson, is quoted as saying, “The hospice remains fully comfortable with ministers, priests and rabbis offering religious counsel to the dying and grieving. I was sensitive to the fact that we don’t impose religion on our staff, and that it is not appropriate in the context of a staff meeting to use certain phrases or ‘God’ or ‘Holy Father,’ because some of our staff don’t believe at all.”
Mirta Signorelli, a devout Christian chaplain in Florida who ministers to abused and neglected children, was told by her supervisor after she quoted the 23rd Psalm in the hospice chapel to “cease and desist from using God in prayers.” Signorelli, who eventually resigned, insisted that she was only quoting the Psalm, which is in the Old Testament, “[a]nd I am well aware that there were people from the Jewish tradition in attendance. I didn’t say Jesus or Allah or Jehovah. I used ‘Lord’ and ‘God,’ which I think are politically correct. I think that’s as generic as you can get.”
The number of people in the U.S. who don’t claim a religion is increasing, according to recent religious surveys, and this makes humanists, like chaplain Greg Epstein of Harvard University, rather ecstatic. Epstein, of Jewish heritage, is borrowing ideas from Jewish and Evangelical traditions to establish “a God-free model of community”, where humanists have local gathering centers all over the U.S. to share their views, reach out to their communities, and “helps humanists increase in numbers and influence.”
In other words, unbelievers like Epstein are hoping to make America a godless society by converting as many people as they can to their way of thinking. It is striking to me that atheists, humanists, and agnostics always claim they innocently want to improve society when their tactics only make society worse. The dictionary tells us that religion is “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith,” and that faith is “something that is believed esp. with strong conviction.” Essentially atheists, humanists, and agnostics are following a different faith or religion from Christianity. Atheism is the belief that there is no God. Humanism is the belief that man is the measure of the universe, that humans alone have the capacity to determine their worth, interests, and values to fulfill their highest goals. Agnosticism is the belief that God’s existence cannot be proven or disproven. They’re all religions! Basically these anti-God religions, just like their counterparts in other religions like Islam, want to replace the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was founded with their own system of religious beliefs.
What Christian chaplains need to understand is that they have certain rights under the law, and one of those rights is freedom of speech. For someone to threaten their lives or livelihoods by telling them they cannot mention God, the Lord, or Jesus, is a violation of their constitutional rights and they have the legal grounds to fight for their rights in court. I know that sometimes as Christians we get caught up in thinking that God will fight our battles and all we have to do is back off, but sometimes in order for God to show us the victory we have to stand up and take action. When the people in Nazareth wanted to throw Jesus over the cliff in Luke 4:28-30, he didn’t let them do it. He maneuvered his way out of the midst of the murderous crowd. When the Roman centurion wanted to inflict corporal punishment on the apostle Paul in Acts 22 without a fair trial, Paul stood up for himself and appealed to his rights as a citizen of Rome, and the centurion backed off.
There are times when we should avoid battles by resigning or not fighting unjust dismissals, but there are also times when we need to stand up for our rights. This is especially true when grave consequences can come from being passive. The ultimate danger of letting these people get away with violating constitutional rights is that the violation of human rights will soon follow and no one’s life will be seen as having worth. Do we have any modern examples of how humanist or atheist or agnostic governmental policies work? Sure we do. Just look at North Korea, China, and the former Soviet Union. Is this what we want for the U.S.?
The U.S. was founded on Judeo-Christian principles because it is the fairest system on which to base any government. It acknowledges that mankind has the tendency to do evil and sometimes gets away with evil, but gives room for repentance (changing one’s evil policies) when people stand up against evil policies or actions. It says there is only one way to God, but gives people the freedom to openly disagree with that view. It also promotes the idea that in life, public or private, there must be some accountability for people’s actions in order to preserve people’s lives since we are all created in God’s image and that we matter from the womb to the tomb. This is why a constitutional republic was the best fit for our government when it was established since such a republic would allow these principles to shape our decisions.
When humanist, atheist, or agnostic policies are allowed to shape our standards, eventually all of society will suffer wrongs in some way and these religions make it more difficult to bring about positive changes. The humanist leaders would tell us that “Since I am the Master of my own destiny and the Captain of my own soul, I can do what feels good to me even if it means you lose your livelihood or life. Only the strong survive and if you aren’t strong enough to survive my decisions, so be it.” The atheist leaders would tell us “Since there is no God and you are not created in the image of God, the only importance you have is the importance that I decide you should have. If you have no power above mine, then I have no need to fear you or the retribution of any God you say exists.” The agnostic leaders would tell us “Neither you nor I can prove or disprove there is any God, so if my decisions cause you any needless suffering, it doesn’t mean my way is wrong. I don’t have to worry about answering to God as long as I can exercise my will to make sure you don’t try to harm me out of your anger.” Their government policies would not acknowledge the rights God wants all humans to have for their spiritual as well as physical benefit.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–