By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
A Hindu Chaplain opened the U. S. Senate's morning session with prayer. The Hindu sect is reported as the third largest religion in the world. It boasts a vast gallery of gods and goddesses and a Hindu prays to the deity to which they feel a personal connection. The opening of prayer in the U. S. Senate is a Judeo-Christian tradition.
It is reported that Christian senators expressed approval of the event because it reflects the right to free speech in the government body. The Hindu Chaplain, a former India-native, expressed that despite philosophical differences, we should work together for the common objectives of human improvement, love, and respect for others.
In 1789 an Episcopal Bishop was elected as the U. S. Senate's first Chaplain. During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the U. S. Senate have had the invocation, strongly affirming the U. S. Senate's faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation. The Chaplain position has went from a part-time to a full-time job as one of the Officers of the Senate.
The Chaplain duties include counseling and spiritual care for the Senators, their families and their staffs, a combined constituency of six thousand people. Normally, the U. S. Senate Chaplain gives the invocation, but it is not uncommon for senators to recommend guest chaplains from their home state to start the day. The guest Hindu Chaplain was not the first non-Christian to lead a Senate invocation; a Muslim became the first to do so in 1992.
One minister who spoke concerning the three Christian protesters who were arrested in the U. S. Senate said: They tried to shout down the invocation by the guest Hindu chaplain; but had not planned to protest, but just happened to be in the public galley to lobby against a proposed hate crime legislation.
They recited the First Commandment; that begins with, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. It was a shocking event for all Christians, who for all of these years have honored the God of our Founding Fathers. It wasn't a group of Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims that came here, it was Christians.
I am reminded of the time that Ezekiel, a prophet of God, was shown the abominations that were being committed at the temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel was brought to the door of the gate of the Lord's house; and there set women weeping for Tammuz (a fertility god).
Then Ezekiel was brought to the inner court of the Lord's house, and at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; who were worshiping the sun toward the east.
The Lord asked Ezekiel: Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a light (or trivial) thing that they commit the abominations that they commit here (one could ask the same of the incident in the U. S. Senate) (Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 8)?
The saddest event witnessed by Ezekiel was the departure of God's glory from the temple (Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 10). Abominations are being committed in which many do not even realize the implications for doing so. How can one offer up prayers when they do not believe in the God of our heritage?
When I was in the military, serving in distant lands, I witnessed people worshiping false gods, looking to objects made with men's hands, expecting divine intervention; but in futility! How can those who identify with Christianity not recognize such falseness? It is a sad day, to witness acceptance of the previously unacceptable without standing uprightly for the God of our creation!
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