In Jesus name?

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The Washington Post has an article discussing the ability of military chaplains to pray in Jesus's name during official events. This is part of a larger debate that has been going on for quite some time within the Christian community whether it is appropriate to end a prayer in the Lord's name in settings where non-Christians are involved especially if that involvement is involuntary. Personally, I believe that a chaplain of any faith should not have to sacrifice his religious practices in order to participate in an official prayer, and the command to pray in Jesus's is clearly laid out in the Bible. This is just another example of political correctness run amock.

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Freddie said:

I don't see what the problem is in not just saying "God".

It's a very longstanding tradition based on the biblical injunction to the effect "Whatever you ask for in my name..." Thus Protestant prayers (maybe Catholic too; I don't know) usually end with something like "in Jesus' name we pray." To NOT end a prayer that way sounds odd to many people who have been raised in the tradition.

Freddie said:

Why not "In God's name we pray?" In non-denominational settings, a military Chaplin should give non-denominational prayers. They are there to serve servicemen of both the Chaplin's denomination, and servicemen of all denominations.

Shaun Kenney said:

I always end my prayers at public meetings, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" as a good Catholic should.

No Protestant has ever had a problem with that, to my knowledge anyhow. And if they did, they can ask someone else to pray at that meeting.

No big deal to me.

Freddie said:

The Trinity is a belief in almost all Christian denominations. "Jesus" and "God" are almost synonymous. It seems to me that the difference between "In God's name we pray" and "In Jesus's name we pray?" is primarily cultural, not theological.

This is an interesting thread so thanks for starting it up, Freddie (and thanks for visiting!)

I've never gotten too worked up about public prayer issues one way or another, personally, because I think the important praying is done individually.

But there is a role for corporate prayer, obviously, in most Christian traditions. And where this is the case, the specifics of what is said could be considered pretty important. To say "Jesus and God are almost synonymous" is, well, quite a simplification of orthodox Protestant belief, almost to the point of obfuscation (I'll let Shaun address the Catholic perspective if he wishes).

I understand exactly the point you are making, though. Whether Christian chaplains should change the way they conduct public prayer out of respect for the beliefs of others is a difficult question precisely because of the specific meaning of "Jesus" within orthodox Christianity.

And if you want to discuss THAT here, it's going to have to wait until the weekend unless someone else chimes in, because my lunch hour is not long enough for me to delve into the question.

Singleton said:

The beauty of our country's freedom of expression and religion is that people get to express their viewpoints rather than a watered-down version of those viewpoints.

To many evangelicals, to pray without mentioning our Intercessor to God the Father is to pray without effect. The equivalent would be to bar a Muslim from mentioning Allah in his prayer.

The only true role of the corporate prayer is those situations where the Supreme Court would prohibit prayer altogether otherwise. This fact is a sad necessity rather than a fact to be celebrated.

I would feel comfortable listening to the prayer of a Muslim to Allah or a Catholic to the Virgin Mary. I may not agree with those faiths, but to ask them not to pray in the manner they choose is, in my opinion, to ask them to deny their faith.

Freddie said:

Personally, I do not have a problem with a denominational prayer in a non-denominational setting. I do not have a problem with, say, a Buddhist giving a Buddhist specific invocation at a Republican Committee meeting. And I know very few Republicans who would have a problem with that.

But, apparently, the military wants non-denominational prayers in non-denominational settings. They believe this is what is needed for the good order of the Armed Services. Within the boundaries of the law, the military can set its own rules. Some people in the military may not agree with the rules, but they have an obligation to follow them anyway.

If a prospective military Chaplin believes that it violates his faith to give a non-denominational prayer, such as saying "In God's name we pray" rather then "In Jesus's name we pray", then I don't think being a Chaplin is the right position for that person.

Singleton said:

To discriminate against someone for employment, based on his religious beliefs, strikes me as a violation of the First Amendment.

Freddie said:

Doing ecumenical acts is a requirement of the job.

Davis said:

It seems pointless to me to have a prayer in the first place if religion is not allowed. That just doesn't make any sense.

Sophrosyne said:

I am always entertained by those advancing the argument that it is offensive to invoke the name of Jesus (or any other central religious figure) in public prayer… who does this offend! This whole debate would be a lot more credible if there was a legitimate reason (i.e. grievance) to restrict language in prayer… if the audience is 70 % (or more likely 90+%) Christian then why not pray in Jesus’ name! Who is that seriously going to offend or hurt?

If it is true that (as quoted in the article) "There are chaplains who get their knuckles rapped pretty hard, and we have documentation of this, for praying in Jesus's name in chapels” then this Executive Order makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Chaplains need to be protected from being forced to offer t a watered down version of their faith due to apparently unfounded fears of offending a small minority of people with differing views.

That said I do see the practical reasons to present ecumenical messages at certain events… but I strongly believe that the Chaplains should be free to pray in Jesus’ name if they deem it appropriate… which is the point of the proposed E.O.

Davis said:

I just find this to be one of those cases where political correctness has taken over common sense. Why have paid, trained Chaplains if you are not going to allow them to publicly and officially practice their religion? Isn't that why they're there in the first place? Seems they're asking these men of various denominations to become unitarians.

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