May 16, 2012

The Lord of the Lord's Prayer

"Although Defendants' two experts, Dr. John Dominic Crossan and Dr. James Edward Jones, opine that The Lord's Prayer does not have exclusively Christian content, it is likely that the Court will ultimately find The Lord's Prayer to be a Christian prayer. The Court recognizes that specific words within The Lord's Prayer are not solely associated with the Christian faith. Still, viewing The Lord's Prayer as a whole, it appears to be a distinctly Christian prayer. Defendants' expert Dr. Crossan even admits that, as used in religious observances, The Lord's Prayer is specifically Christian. Defense counsel stated that it is undisputed that The Lord's Prayer comes from the New Testament. Defense counsel further stated at oral argument that Defendants did not dispute that today only Christians say The Lord's Prayer as part of their religious observances."
-- U.S. District Court Judge Leonard P. Stark's legal decision to grant a preliminary injunction requiring Sussex County, Delaware, stop starting county council meetings with a recitation of The Lord's Prayer.

Stark also cites eight federal court rulings calling the Our Father a "specifically Christian prayer," as well as one that states the prayer is not specifically Christian. In a footnote, the judge adds to the above by noting, "it is undisputed that 'The Lord' of the title of 'The Lord's Prayer' is Jesus Christ."

It's one of the persistent ironies of these sorts of legal fights that those supposedly defending public prayers, etc., do it by arguing they don't mean anything.

It's a "destroy the prayer in order to save it" kind of strategy.

Or, in the words of one Sussex County councilman, "I don't know how we're going to get around it. But we're gonna have to find a way."