By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County prayer debates continues

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Horse with no name

It takes a professional propagandist to tell you one thing to your face and another to her inner sanctum. The Commissioners purpose is to divide believers in their version of Christianity from everyone else. It appears everyone else gets the sword. Funny she didn't mention dividing the sheep from the goats in the voter’s pamphlet.
The kooky talk amongst them is ok, but when they start to implement their vision of the future, it's time to say you're too extreme for the rest of us.
Using mainline Christianity for cover to wedge your way into government business to achieve an air of legitimacy for your extremist goals is pretty sly. These Commissioners have proven themselves to be pretty sly, remember the Riverbend vote? Can't say we didn't tell you so.

Here's just a sampling of the kind of rhetoric folks in Yamhill County will have to get used to, if they vote Starrett into office.
“Jesus didn’t come to bring peace,” says Starrett, the former AM Northwest co-host on KATU Channel 2 and former KPDQ radio talk host. “He came to bring a sword. And He came to divide. It is time to cause division among the brethren. He says He is going to divide the sheep from the goats. We have been lukewarm too long. There is a time and place for us to sit there and be complacent and compliant and also a time to say, ‘I have seen a picture of a ripped-up baby in a garbage can. I have seen enough.’ ”


Good Lord, Horse (note the capital L). I am grateful I don't live up next to your compound, surrounded by conspiracy theories, paranoia and other useless nonsense. The radio waves surrounding your place alone would make me question my virility.

Yes, Commissioner Starrett may well be a nutcase and Commissioner Springer has his own ponderous baggage. But neither is attempting a takeover of the county through five-minute sessions of militant evangelical prayer.

I take issue with your statement "...[t]he kooky talk amongst them is ok, but when they start to implement their vision of the future..." Any "kooky talk" is not acceptable, right? We can both agree on that I hope. But a simple invocation is hardly an implementation of Biblical law. Call them on their specific "kooky" crap and give the invocation thing a rest.

To everyone else: I am a Christian. And I acknowledge the many contributions of those who think the statement "I am a Christian" renders me a moron. But, crucially, I also acknowledge the contributions of fellow Christians.

Possessing and exercising simple faith does not automatically make me or other Christians useless boobs. Nor does it (necessarily) render us blind to the fallacies espoused by those who also profess our faith. Human history is peppered with examples of believers and non-believers alike who aver ridiculous notions.

In this time and place, a simple invocation preceding county commission meetings is not a threat to life as we know it in Yamhill County.


Horse, no where in the Constitution of our country does it state (much less mandate)that our elected representatives be restrained from praying for guidance from God.

There shall be no official state church established by our government. There is nothing in our constitution that bans prayer for, much less hope in a something greater than ourselves to provide us with divine guidance.

Case in point. Did you know that over in Hawaii early elementary grade school students are being taught that the human anus is a 'genital'.

Heck, everyone knows that in reality, the human anus is the end of the digestive tract, and is not capable of giving birth to anything but a well lubricated 'flop of mud'. Samey same for Penguins, bugs, lizards, ... dare I include Gerbils of the opposite sex?


Mike, this rarely happens but that made me laugh out loud.


I think that they should get off their knees and get to work!


Mr Tubbs, of course people can pray, if it turns them on, but on their own dime, please. I don't know what the Hawai'i thing (stupid as it is) has to do with the subject.

Horse with no name

It's not about you practicing your brand of Christianity or not, it's where you get to do it. This board of commissioners extremist version tells them, and they preach it (sorry no conspiracy here Trafik, just their words), that their rules are the higher authority over our Constitution. When they bring that purpose to our government that is crossing the line. Government in the United States is for all the citizens and dragging religion into government just divides and injects prejudice to the process of governing. Look at how many Christian sects alone there are, even the Christians can't agree among themselves, think of how it feels if you're of a different faith or no organized religious denomination. It’s a matter of separation of Church and State. Anybody paying attention to how combining Church and State has worked out in the past?


Horse, the commissioner's through there invocation of prayer within the confines of a public building, are not in violation of the establishment clause. They are not combining church and state. ...heY! Rotwang, were they really on their knees?


Weary of this conversation.

If the commission was asking attendees individually whether they know Jesus, if the commission was kneeling to consult the Almighty prior to each vote, if the commission was handing out religious tracts, if the commission was singing hymns during meetings, if the commission was offering scripture readings in session, if the commission was studying the Bible to determine the county's future, if the commission was offering sermons or homilies during meetings, if the commission felt the need to proffer a Eucharist at the end of session, if the commission was practicing any extremist brand of anything then, yes, Horse, there would be a problem. You might even meet me in the line that would, no doubt, form to complain.

But they're offering a short ceremonial invocation, a practice that has preceded countless public meetings in countless counties across the country for hundreds of years. My point: there are far more important issues to which you could dedicate your outrage and your efforts at eradication.

Horse with no name

Trafik, name one issue that is more important than standing up to government officials that say, write and preach that our Constitution is subordinate to their own personal religious views. They say, write and preach to bring our government in line with their interpretation of Biblical law. That is too much and more than saying harmless prayers.


You are afraid of shadows, Horse. Henry VII's Oath of Supremacy is in the dust bin of history, and the commissioners do not aspire to be modern day versions of Thomas More. I admire vigilence against tyranny, whether it is from the church or the state, but you are wrong about your assertions regarding the subjugation of our constitution to interpretations of Biblical law. That is not what the board is about.

What you ought to be concerned about are issues of land-use planning, and infrastructure development. That is where the rubber meets the road (pun intended).

m or s

Lest anyone think that the religion at commissioner functions start and stop with a short ceremonial invocation, a reminder that at the March 12th dump hearing Mr. Springer questioned a participant's knowledge of the Bible, "Just how well do you know your Bible?" That was right before he offered to go one on one, "Let's go, just you and me." Remember, too, his invitation to Riverbend spokesperson Jackie Lang to a private prayer meeting in chambers just prior to the county planning commission's expansion meeting.
m (of s or m)


For those that think the opening prayer is harmless would you also feel that an opening Muslim prayer or Satanist prayer harmless as well? If we are being asked to be "tolerant" of a simple Christian prayer at a government meeting then we should welcome all prayer and give other people of differing faiths an opportunity to say their prayers as well. Maybe after all of the praying is done there will be enough time to actually do the people's business.


No government official here in Yamhill County has ever stated any person cannot, be they of any other faith other than Christian or even a non-believer has be denied the opportunity to do so. If you believe any other faith has been banned from providing their own invocation, please point out the who to and when.

Please be specific.


Please leave out the hypothetical and stick to the factual. And thank you in advance for your coming reply to my question, Mudstump.


Miketubbs1 - you seem to have some evidence of a county meeting being opened by a prayer that was not a Christian prayer? Even if you were to tell me that there was a Muslim, Hindu, Satanist, or fill in the blank prayer....I still believe that prayer should be made privately in silence to one's self or at a church related function with others who share your faith. It is just a matter of keeping all religion out of the public domain. In fact, the taxpayer doesn't pay the commissioners to pray....we pay them to manage our county's business.


Mudstump, I have no 'evidence' that anyone, regardless of their faith or disbelief, that has ever been denied the opportunity to give an opening invocation. Do You?


Mudstump, I believe that people should pay for their own abortions, but that's just me.


At the state level, specifically referencing the Oregon House of Representatives, invocations are called "opening ceremonies" and are defined as "...not always religious prayers, but may also be a performance of music, poetry, or a moment of silence depending on the many factors..." Further, those offering invocations are told the opening ceremonies are "...not meant for entertainment, proselytizing or persuasion. Requiring others to join or participate in prayer, or conducting ceremonies or using props is inappropriate." Finally, those participating are asked to remember "....[t]he members of the House, their staff, and the citizens of Oregon, whom they serve, hold a variety of beliefs and opinions. You are addressing everyone and we ask that you be respectful to followers of all faiths."

In another thread on this forum, I posted that "...I have personally been present for invocations in the House chamber offered by Christians both mainstream and evangelical, Native American spiritualists, secular humanists and others. A Wiccan priestess even offered the invocation in the Oregon Senate about 15 years ago."

Invocations -- or opening ceremonies as they're called at the state legislative level -- provide opportunities for citizens of all (and no) faiths to recognize the solemnity of the legislative process and even to participate in a non-issue-specific fashion. Ultimately, it is my understanding the Yamhill County Commission's intent is similarly inclusive, even if commissioners overtly subscribe to specific dogmas.

The simple law of averages, however, would dictate most of those offering invocations in the county would be from Christian organizations. After all, in a city like McMinnville, churches are a dime-a-dozen. I even found a weekly church directory in the News-Register but I was hard-pressed to find the weekly Wiccan coven directory.

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