No one can question the very conservative credentials of nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. Yet, in a column published in early May, Thomas cited Matthew 6:6 when Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Thomas, of course, was commenting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding prayer at government meetings. Thomas noted that in the majority opinion Justice Anthony Kennedy said that prayers offered at a town council meeting are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions. Thomas added, “If prayer is largely ‘ceremonial’ and ‘traditional’ then it has lost all meaning. One might was well chant ‘2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate’.”
And the reason I am noting Thomas’ comments about the decision of the Supreme Court? Headline this week: “Palazzo (Mississippi Congressman) hands out 535 Bibles on Capitol Hill.”
At last week’s Neshoba County Fair Gov. Phil Bryant hardly started his speech before he noted that “In God We Trust” is now part of the State Seal of Mississippi. A day earlier Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves also mentioned the importance of the legislation that put “In God We Trust” on the state seal. I’m sure that since we now have that as part of the seal that more and higher paying jobs for our citizens will be created, children throughout the state will get a better public education, crime will be reduced, and so on.
Years ago I remember reporting on city council, school board, and other public meetings when a big deal was made of opening the meeting with prayer. I often wondered if those same public officials had prayed quietly before they left home or work for the meeting.
Near the end of his column Thomas also noted that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees when He said in verse 5 of the same chapter of Matthew, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and other street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
Politicians who play the God card are just as bad, if not worse, as the ones who play the race card. Amen.