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Religious Tolerance logo

Three Christians disrupt Hindu prayer in Senate 

Reactions to the protest

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Comments on the protest by Operation Save America:

bulletRev. Flip Benham, the director of Operation Save America issued a press release, expressing frustration that none of the senators supported the protestors directly. Benham wrote:

"Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god. The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ. This would never have been allowed by our Founding Fathers."

"Not one Senator had the backbone to stand as our Founding Fathers stood. They stood on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There were three in the audience with the courage to stand and proclaim, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' They were immediately removed from the chambers, arrested, and are in jail now. God bless those who stand for Jesus as we know that He stands for them." 1

bulletRev. Benham also wrote an article on the Operation Save America web site, stating his opposition to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution :

"HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN!  Have our elected officials forgotten so quickly the God of our Pilgrim Forefathers, the God of our Founding Fathers, and the God who has blessed America and made her the mightiest nation in the world?  Has Jesus, who made this nation free, been prostrated to the same level as every other religion?" 

"The events that took place in the Senate chambers yesterday would indicate that the answer is, YES!  Well then, what happens when United States senators fail to stand for truth, and bow their knee to the false god of political correctness?  Simple Christian moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, sons and daughters, must stand up for Jesus! ..." 

"This simple act of biblical obedience has inspired and encouraged the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Christians across this nation.  It has drawn a line in the sand that will have huge implications for the general election of 2008.  The Christian vote is not for sale.  Republicans you cannot depend upon us.  If you cant find it in yourself to stand for Christ we cant find it in ourselves to vote for you. ..."

"The falsehood of Hinduism was eloquently challenged yesterday by those who know the truth that sets people free - Jesus.  We pray that their lives will inspire many to do the same and call our nation to repentance and to return to the God of our fathers.  May the hallowed halls and chambers of the Congress of the United States of America never again entertain the false religions of this age." 2

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Reactions to the event by others:

Two prominent religious activists demonstrated their opposing view of what America cherishes. Both believe that religion should play a major role in the nation. However, they differ on which religions should be allowed into the public square to contribute.

bulletTony Perkins, of the fundamentalist Christian advocacy group Family Research Council, said in a statement on the day of the disturbance:

"No one can legitimately challenge the fact that the God America refers to in the pledge, our national motto, and other places is the monotheistic God of the Jewish and Christian faith. ..."

"There is no historic connection between America and the polytheistic creed of the Hindu faith. I seriously doubt that Americans want to change the motto, 'In God we Trust,' which Congress adopted in 1955, to, 'In gods we Trust.' That is essentially what the United States Senate did today." 3,4

bulletAn article in the website of Americans United for Separation of Church and State criticized the protesters:

" 'This shows the intolerance of many Religious Right activists,' said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. 'They say they want more religion in the public square, but its clear they mean only their religion'."

" 'America is a land of extraordinary religious diversity, and the Religious Right just cant seem to accept that fact,' Lynn continued. 'I dont think the Senate should open with prayers, but if its going to happen, the invocations ought to reflect the diversity of the American people.' ..."

"Said AUs Lynn, 'The Religious Right promotes a deeply skewed version of American history. Our founders wanted separation of church and state and full religious liberty for all faith traditions. The episode today shows we still have a ways to go to achieve that goal." 5

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Heathens force Senators to convert," Clipmarks, 2007-JUL-13, at: http://clipmarks.com/
  2. Eric Kleefeld, "Christian Right Activists Disrupt First Hindu Prayer In Senate: "This Is An Abomination," TPMCafe, 2007-JUL-12, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  3. " 'In Gods we trust' in U.S. Senate. Hindu prayer makes history," NBC5 (Chicago), 2007-JUL-13, at: http://www.nbc5.com/
  4. Tony Perkins, "Prayer to Whom?," Family Research Council, 2007-JUL-12, at: http://www.frc.org/
  5. "Disruption Of Hindu Chaplains Senate Prayer Shows Religious Rights Intolerance, Says Americans United. Religious Right Activists Want Government To Reflect Only Their Faith, Says AUs Lynn," Americans United, 2007-JUL-12, at: http://www.au.org/

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