Turley-Hansen: Another challenge to public prayer could effect Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Columns

Turley-Hansen: Another challenge to public prayer could effect Arizona

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East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen (turleyhansen@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor.

Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2013 12:15 pm | Updated: 7:11 pm, Thu Nov 21, 2013.

Those who abhor public prayer are at it again. They are offended by reference to deity among other things.

There have always been those who do not recognize the unseen (“God cannot be proven”), never mind that they live in an age of invisible power, which keeps cell phones and computers running. And, what about our invisible human energy, love and hate, which packs a punch; creates and changes civilization? Plainly, the, “if you can’t see it, it must not exist” theory, fits in the “earth is flat” file.

Nevertheless, for prayer-deniers, because they cannot see Him, let’s just say there is no God. Without doubt, prayer still holds a power of its own.

But, first, know that I believe in God. One universal God who loves all mankind. I also believe Christian principles played a weighty role in the founding of this nation.

We know, globally, persecution of Christians is on the rise, including here in the USA, while at the same time, other faiths are encouraged. One devout East Valley Christian, a former church administrator, told me: “We already have factions wanting to change laws in certain cities and states to reflect their very prohibitive and damaging religious laws. And the maddening thing is, the powers that be don’t want to insult anyone, so they go along with it.” That, while Christian traditions are under attack.

Perhaps you’ve heard. The nation’s Supreme Court is considering prayer in public meetings (the Town of Greece v. Galloway). Along with 17 other states, Arizona has filed briefs contending prayers should be allowed to continue.

For discussion purposes, consider prayer without God as a receiver: Prayer generates unity in groups, which is needed to accomplish a common goal. Then, there’s the need to focus, to acquire solemnity, even some humility, which serves as a reminder that it’s not about “me,” it’s about the “good of all concerned.” It’s a ritual to still the mind and commit to purpose.

Arizona legislative chaplain Donna Kafer says: “It’s part of our history and decorum... it has a calming effect and sets the tone for what they’re here to do.” (www.azcentral.com 11.4.13). Clearly, Kafer recognizes the natural laws prayers put into effect; natural laws that every, single public servant could use a good dose of.

Prayer is one form of meditation, introspection which also utilizes natural laws. Prayer contains many meditation qualities, especially the clearing of the mind: www.artofliving.org/healing-power-meditation. Meditation (a moment of silence) apparently is viewed as so benign that atheists and non- Christians are unthreatened. Or, maybe meditation is viewed as a practice, which does not threaten political power. Which, brings us to the possible agenda of complainers and those who desire to wordsmith public prayers. Just as long as no higher power is mentioned …

Something to ponder: Those who fear Christian practices, are one thing, but those who support them and stand silent are another. Of course it’s frightening to stand on the wall and proclaim that which is not popular; Christian scriptures offer many examples. On the other hand, because believers remain silently fearful, we see the predictable outcome.

And finally: Prayer is not owned by Christians. Soul yearning is as ancient as man. Yet, it is a power barely examined by civilization and in America’s case, one which prides itself on exploration and genius advancements. In truth, it’s astonishing so few explore the great domain of prayer.

I urge all who support public prayer (not just Christian prayer, but all faiths) to open your mouths in every venue available to you. When you gently put your name to your wisdom, then your belief will carry the power you seek. You then can claim the right to invite others to discover what you know.

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