ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH – Fort Leonard Wood prayer day speaker riles church-state advocates

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At least three church-state watchdog groups have asked the Defense Department to intervene in a prayer event Thursday at Fort Leonard Wood.

The groups asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to cancel a planned speech by David Barton, an evangelical Christian minister, discredited historian and conservative political operative.

Barton is scheduled to give a speech called, “Our American Heritage: Why History Matters,” to about 400 military members and their families on Thursday morning. Evangelical groups around the country will hold prayer events for the National Day of Prayer, which was originally established by Congress in 1952. In 1988, it set the day officially as the first Thursday in May.

Organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation have challenged the constitutionality of having a national prayer day in court.

Tiffany Wood, director of Fort Leonard Woods’ public affairs office, declined to provide the base’s Installation Chaplain Gary Brown for an interview. In a statement Wood said the National Prayer Breakfast at Fort Leonard Wood “focuses on inspiration, spirituality and prayer.”

Each year Fort Leonard Wood invites speakers “from diverse faith groups” to speak “about the value of faith and prayer,” according to the statement.

On Monday, Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote Hagel that Barton “is well known for his open, vocal, and constant use of contemptuous words against the President.”

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  1. Mikey

    OMG, if this is the worst thing that happened today, then guess what… It was a great day!~

    Wow, talk about some b-o-r-e-d folks out there…

    Do people actually do this stuff for a living??? WOW, now that’s talent!~

  2. TracyDC

    The “Wall of Separation” concept:

    Shortly after Thomas Jefferson was elected president, some Baptists from Connecticut asked that he declare a national day of fasting in order to help the country recover from a bitterly fought presidential campaign. HE DISAGREED, feeling that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT RECOGNIZE A DAY SET ASIDE FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS. In his reply of 1802-JAN-1, he stated:

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” 3

  3. Pastor Ruth

    “On Monday, Mikey Weinstein…wrote Hagel that Barton “is well known for his open, vocal, and constant use of contemptuous words against the President.””

    And who is Weinstein “open, vocal, and contemptuous about?” Christians?! (Is this an example of the pot calling the kettle contemptuous?)

    By the way – I agree – let’s NOT have a national prayer day in court…Let’s have it somewhere else instead!! Lol (misplaced modifier!)

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