In a stunning ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit prohibited a city council from allowing mention of Jesus during its invocations. The Court interpreted the First Amendment as requiring censorship of references to Jesus in prayers allowed by public officials. The invocation at the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina had ended with the unremarkable phrase, "For we do make this prayer in Your Son Jesus' name, Amen." The invocation also referenced "the Cross of Calvary," the "Virgin Birth," and the "Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." In ruling against the County Board, the appellate court complained that nearly 80% of the invocations referred to "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Christ," or "Savior." The Court further criticized the County Board because most of the prayers ended with a reference to Jesus, using phrases such as "In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior."
The Court found a problem with the fact that none of the prayers at the County Board mentioned any “non-Christian deities.” Since the prayers were typically offered by local Christian ministers, it really would have been strange, indeed, if one of them prayed to Buddha or Allah! The Court cited the increased diversity of the American population as a basis for allowing two people, represented by the local ACLU, to censor speech acceptable to hundreds of thousands in the community.
Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote a compelling dissent. He said, nothing in the First Amendment or anywhere else in the Constitution makes being offended a license for someone to censor many others, and this decision "surely is not required by the Establishment Clause.”
Regardless of the anti-religion decisions of some supremacist judges who are trying to rewrite the First Amendment, I hope all Americans will thank God on this Thanksgiving Day for the great blessing of living in America.
Listen to the radio commentary here: