By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Prayer debate flares anew at county

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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday, May 1st, narrowly upheld the centuries-old tradition of offering prayers to open government meetings, even if the prayers are overwhelmingly Christian and citizens are encouraged to participate.

The 5-4 ruling, supported by the court's conservative justices and opposed by its liberals, was based in large part on the history of legislative prayer dating back to the Framers of the Constitution.

To quote an earlier precedent, Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled then that such prayers were "part of the fabric of our society."

Reading the Old and New Testaments one finds prayer offered by individuals and groups groups and prayers both private and public. Private prayers are often offered in what some call their prayer closet; thankfully the acceptability of that type of praying has not reached the level of having to seek Supreme Court approval. But public prayer to open government meetings is a long standing tradition that has been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. How do we obey the obligation to pray for our leaders (governing authorities) and to pray without ceasing (continually and at all times) if we follow the biblically uninformed view expressed by Hilbert and Black.

Horse with no name

Dominionism: “Defined in its simplest form, Christian Dominionism is a political approach to Christian faith based on a literal interpretation of Genesis Chapter 1 verses 26 – 28 of the Christian Bible. Believers perceive themselves as the “chosen” or the “elect”, commanded by God to “subdue” the earth and “have dominion” over all living creatures.
The goal of Christian Dominionism in the United States is to abolish Separation of Church and State, establishing it as a distinctively Christian Nation based upon Old Testament Mosaic Law. Dominionism is an umbrella term that harbors many divergent franchise groups claiming a foundation in Christianity”.

Commissioner Springer, who is on the Leadership Team of the NW Harvest Church (McMinnville) instigated the religious invocations. The mission statement for his church is "To proclaim the Gospel clearly and with signs and wonders, declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ to our country, state and the nations of the world."

Using his government position to accomplish a take over of our democracy for his religious goals is an attack on the United States, no matter all the talk of love, Jesus and Supreme Court findings. Re-read his mission statement again and remember that he insist on using the cold-war McCarthy era "one nation under God" version of the pledge of allegiance . We won World War I and World War II without "one nation under God" in our pledge, only crazy fear among the other harmful things McCarthy did, caused the phrase to be inserted in the first place. Our government is subservient to Springer's particular brand of Christianty in his mind.

Read more at about their message "We are not only called to follow Jesus personally, we are called to make disciples of all Nations".

This is religion gone too far and all patriotic Americans should stand up and say "NO to religion in our democratic government business".


Quite the conspiracy, huh, Horse? Do you really think Commissioner Springer is attempting to "take over" our democracy and to "attack" the country? Your words, not mine.

A key point with most Christian denominations is free choice. No person can be forced to embrace Christian philosophy. Yes, many Christians proselytize in obnoxious and clumsy fashions. While this may be annoying it is hardly a threat to the Constitution. I, for one, don't see a lot of Christians holding non-believers at gunpoint and forcing them to renounce their ways and adopt a new ideology. His zeal aside, I'm fairly certain Commissioner Springer doesn't wish to force you or any other Yamhill County resident to embrace Christian dogma. (Force is the key word there.)

I do, however, see a man earnest in his sincerity asking for simple guidance and grace. For other Christians, the invocation is a brief attempt to get a little divine benevolence. For everyone else, it's a five-minute waste of the public's time.

I can think of many important issues more deserving of outrage than this.

Horse with no name

His words not mine, follow the link and read. Yeah it sounds weird but look who's saying the weird stuff. Go over to the church and get some supernatural powers and rule the world. It only cost you the tithe of 10% of your gross... there's a tax nobody talks about. There are many good Christians that think these folks are doing religion for power and money which detracts from the good they are trying to do without harvesting everyone else.


If Allen Springer is such a devout Christian, why is he so snotty and snide?
Religion doesn't belong in government meetings, period. Cut it out and start behaving like adults.


Isn't the fact that we all pay more in taxes because churches are tax exempt enough for these people? Answer: No, it seems to never be enough. They love to play the victim while they have special status under the tax code. Their self-righteous and pompous attitude is turning more people away from the church. Stuffing their Christian religion down the throats of Yamhill County residents is typical for religious extremists. Their prayers have no place at a government meeting.

Want to pray? Do it at your tax exempt church.


St. Barnabas Episcopal Church is on track to serve nearly 40,000 meals to the hungry of Yamhill County free of charge this year. Church on the Hill has multiple programs to help those less fortunate, including vocational and rehabilitative. First Baptist Church offers free meals and medical care. McMinnville Cooperative Ministries offers free meals. Covenant Church and First Presbyterian Church also offer free meals. This is just scratching the surface of the generosity of McMinnville churches.

One could argue that the tax-exempt status being begrudged here has been earned by these " seems to never be enough" churches but that would spoil the sour and short-sighted tone of this entire thread.


Trafik - are you really going to try to sell the idea that churches are merely benevolent entities that deserve tax exempt status and they have some right above other Americans to force their prayers on the rest of us? Ever wonder why their is hostility toward religion - especially the fundamentalist Christian sect? In some part it is because these religious zealots can't seem to keep their religion to themselves. They want to play politics and more. Organized religion is a big business and a political machine designed to influence public policy and eventually establish biblical law. Don't be surprised that the American public is going to give them some well-deserved push back.


I don't believe this is about prayer so much as power.


In my mind, Mudstump, there is a clear difference between a Joel Osteen-inspired megachurch whose parishioners have no problem bestowing lavish lifestyles upon their clergy and a 200-member local church that operates a heavily-used feeding ministry. So, yes, I am trying to "sell the idea" that the bulk of local churches are humbly-led benevolent entities deserving of tax-exempt status. To me, the evidence supports this and the good these organizations accomplish far outweighs any perceived harm.

Further, with church attendance and affiliation at an all-time low, I don't see an imminent threat of Biblical law being established across the land. On the contrary, a significant percentage of news stories populating any well-respected news site reveals a notable shift away from Biblical principles.

I stand by my assertion that Commissioner Springer is "...a man earnest in his sincerity asking for simple guidance and grace. For other Christians, the invocation is a brief attempt to get a little divine benevolence. For everyone else, it's a five-minute waste of the public's time."

For the record, I am not a big Springer fan. But I think an invocation before a meeting of the Yamhill County Commission is a trifling issue unworthy of outrage.


I wholeheartedly agree, Trafik.


You are off the mark, Horse, in trying to force Commissioner Springer, or his church, under the umbrella of Chritian Dominionism. You may find elements of his stated beliefs as similar to the tenets of this "-ism", but you are tilting at windmills if you try to pin him or his church to this school of theology. Guilt by association is a weak play. Erecting a straw man, only to throw rocks at him, is insidious. There is no conspiracy, here, to connect the dots as you've placed them.


It might be fun for a change, and certainly more entertaining if the invocation at the County Commission meeting was temporarily put aside and an assault on the State Senate and House of Representatives DAILY invocation were launched...I might add, good luck with that!


The in-session daily state invocations tend to be inclusive. More a matter of tradition and ceremony, they are given by adherents of many Christian denominations in addition to practitioners outside that realm. 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.

The Oregon House of Representatives states in its opening ceremonies guidelines that "... After the Call to Order and presentation of the colors, we conduct 'Opening Ceremonies.' These are not always religious prayers, but may also be a performance of music, poetry, or a moment of silence..."

Furthermore, the guidelines state "... The 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."

Given the overwhelmingly broad nature of these guidelines and their practice, I think this is another non-issue. Except maybe for those who just don't like people of faith.


I vote for the moment of silence. There's too much noise in this world. People have this itch to fill blank spaces with jabber.


"People have this itch to fill in blanks with jabber."

Jabber much, Lulu?


People like you feel people like me should acknowledge and accept a subordinate position in your version of society.
Pettiness is such an ugly characteristic.
Plus, you can't spell.
Think much, tubbs?


Lulu, I have no personal version of society. It is you, not I, that prefers others to shut up when you don't 'like', much less appreciate what others may have to say or even invite.

Thanks for the personal attack.


Mike, Lulu is a personal friend of mine even though she sometimes spouts nonsense. I do appreciate your defense of my position and, in light of her assertion, I looked hard for errors in your posts. I could find none. You might point out that she has a pointed detestation of the word "that." She hates that.

Although I generally love it here in McMinnville, I sometimes miss the smell of the eucalyptus trees and the attention-to-detail required by the English language.


Thank you for the heads up on 'that', Trafik. And you're welcome.


After Trafik smacked me around a bit, I now know the error of my ways. Unlike his ancestors, our Moppet family has humble roots and nowhere are we connected to nobility. Although it is rumored that hundreds of years ago, a Moppet woman prepared a dinner and too many unexpected townspeople showed up. There weren't enough chairs, and she, on the spot, invented the buffet.
And there was also the "mop."
Anyway, to atone, Trafik has tasked me with memorizing all the "begats" in the Bible. Hopefully, I can recite them for the commissioners as the invocation for an upcoming meeting.


I don't believe in smacking unless I'm sipping wine and then it's inadvertent. Although the buffet sounds like it was delicious, my cranky nature begat in me an inherent fear of cleaning implements and long-winded prayers filled with archaic vernacular. Unless you want me to offer the invocation at the onset of your next dinner party.


"Unless you want me to offer the invocation at the onset of your next dinner party." -Trafik

Just seating yourself on a 'Whoopee Cushion' would probably suffice.


No way--Trafik's getting the cup which runneth over.

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