About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, January 05, 2012

NorCo Council Playing Favorites With Religion

Although the audio of the prayer offered by the Fake Rev before Tuesday's Northampton County Council meeting is missing, the "glorious name of Jesus" was invoked several times. It treated nonChristians as religious outsiders. It created the impression that Northampton County Council plays favorites among religions.

I refused to participate, primarily because the Fake Rev is a fraud. For exercising my constitutional right, I have been attacked by this little demagogue and his minions on other blogs, proving why it was wrong to ask him to offer an invocation.

Northampton County Council has no policy concerning invocations before their meetings. When Ron Angle was president, he invited clergy of all faiths to open meetings. Cusick stopped that practice, relying on one Christian minister for a year's worth of meetings. Now he's opened up the floor to an phony, who can't complete a sentence without talking about Jesus, and is quick to claim that anyone who disagrees with him is possessed.

There's nothing wrong with a governmental body seeking Divine guidance so long as the prayers offered are nonsectarian. But as the Eleventh Circuit recently ruled, sectarian prayers like the one offered by the Fake Rev., violate the Establishment Clause. They create an atmosphere in which someone feels compelled to bow his head in mock reverence, especially if he has something to say during public comment. They send a signal of exclusion, rather than welcome. Instead of religious tolerance, they promote discord.

If Council President John Cusick is unwilling to take the time to find any of the many area clergymen willing to offer nonsectarian prayers before meetings, he should stop the practice altogether. As it stands, he is violating the Establishment Clause.

Updated 1/6/12, 2:28 AM: The Fake Rev is claiming that his invocation during Monday afternoon's reorganization has been censored, apparently at my request. I wonder if he subscribes to Paranoia Weekly. I noticed the audio was not working when I started working on this post, and suspect it's likely because somebody forgot to turn on the mike. But so far as I know, nobody has tried to censor Martinez' prayer.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

To the ramparts! Take down the tourist sized version? Why that's that's downright in-Christian. Tell him Bernie how non sectarian they are.

Oh divine being, ruler or CEO or elected president for one term of the universe forgive them for they know not what they do.

Anonymous said...

How about no prayers at any public meeting. There. No problem.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:39

Agreed, they should stop this silly exercise and get on with business.

For a country founded on the separation of church and state, how did we get to this point that every meeting has to have a religious invocation?

Anonymous said...

WELL WE ARE A CHRISTIAN NATION, LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT. IS THERE ANY OTHER TRADITION YOU WISH TO ATTACK? THERE IS NO END WHICH IS WHY YOU NEED TO BE ON THE LOSING SIDE. LET US STOP GREASING THE SQUEAKY WHEEL. I WILL AGREE THAT A GENUINE ORDAINED PASTOR SHOULD SAY THE PRAYER AND NOT ONE WHO GOT HIS CERTIFICATE FROM THE INTERNET. I WILL ALSO AGREE THAT THIS REV SOUNDING LIKE A BORN AGAIN IS TOO HEAVY ON THE JESUS THING. THAT IS WHAT THEY DO. WHILE A MENTION WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE TO MORE PEOPLE HE REALLY NEEDS TO SPEAK MORE OF GOD. SO PLEASE QUIT WHINIG AND BEING NASTY. IT IS NOT THE BIG DEAL YOU MAKE OF IT. AS ALWAYS THERE ARE MANY NOT ALL ON THIS SITE WHO SEE IT AS THEIR BATTLEGROUND. MAN UP IF YOU CAN AND PICK A FIGHT WITH SOMEONE FACE TO FACE. BE A LITTLE MORE TOLERANT OF OTHERS OPINIONS. BO, MOST OF THE PEOPLE ON YOUR BLOG REALLY DO NEED A REAL FRIEND BUT SUCH NEGATIVITY ALWAYS RUINS THE CHANCES OF ANY GOOD RELATIONSHIP.

Anonymous said...

At other area meetings a councilmember may offer a prayer..They aren't ordained mostly..So who really cares what was said and by whom if it was from the heart..It's also your right to ignore the person and the prayer if you don't like the guy. That's what America is supposed to be about. Hopefully though, you said," God, I hope you don't mind that I don't stand." I'm protesting until the pope ( or his likeness from another faith) himself comes. If God is OK with that, then you are probably safe...If not, guess you'll find out, lol.

Anonymous said...

I love that picture of Robertson.

Anonymous said...

NO PROBLEM WITH ANYONE WHO WANTS TO LEAD IN PRAYER. JUST BE REAL. IF YOU ARE A REAL PASTOR THEN SO BE IT, IF NOT DON'T ELEVATE THE GUY BY INTRODUCING HIM AS ONE. THERE IS ENOUGH PHONINESS GOING AROUND. POLITICIANS COME TO MIND. ESPECIALLY THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN AROUND. BUT IT IS CERTAINLY NOT LIMITED TO THEM. WHEN THE MAJORITY WANTS PRAYER ELIMINATED OR ANYTHING ELSE THEN SO BE IT. UNTIL THEN SUCK IT UP.......YOU ARE TO USE TO HAVING IT YOUR WAY AND AS WITH CHILDREN THAT IS NEVER A GOOD THING.

Anonymous said...

all CAPS always lends weght to an argument...

Anonymous said...

"WELL WE ARE A CHRISTIAN NATION, LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT." I'm pretty sure that the American Indians did not say that to William Penn when he landed on our shores. No need for a governmental body to preach one religion over another. Not even my opinion. Even Jesus said in Luke 20:25, Mark 12:17 and Matthew 22:21 - "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, but give to God what is God's". Separate government from religion.

Dave said...

We stole the land from pagan Native Indians. The Christian nation argument is old and tired. The bible tells us to go into a room alone and close the door. Prayer is intimate and public displays are hypocritical as Jesus pointed out. Say the pledge and then get down to business.

Dave said...

Cusick should know better. Stop this farce now. Pancho is a mail order padre at best and should not be recognized as anything but. It is disrespectful to legit degreed spiritual leaders.

Anonymous said...

ANON 7:12,

Here's a news flash for you ... WE ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION. As someone who was born in this country and happens to be Jewish, I find it very offensive that you and others believe such nonsense. There is a separation of church and state for a very good reason - we are a diverse nation of many different cultures.

I'm sorry if you feel like the repressed majority, but that is really your concern, not mine. If I were at the aforementioned meeting I would have been totally offended, not because he is some "fake rev," but because of all the talk about Jesus Christ. There is a place for that ... a christian church.

Anonymous said...

It was okay when Christians were Christian enough to set up a country based on religious freedom for all. Then, it became problematic to be subjected to these founders' prayers. Prayers are part of our Judeo Christian heritage. Sectarian prayers by fake clergy, however, only serve to damage an otherwise proud tradition. Freedom of religion doesn't guarantee freedom from religion. But over the top sectarianism makes many want to be protected. Cusick needs to fix this.

Anonymous said...

The rev seemed as surprised as anyone to be called..Not sure what their options were..Get over it..I would have even accepted a prayer from Bernie as long as he didn't end it by saying," Please God, bring Ron Angle back to us."

Anonymous said...

Strong agreement here. County Council is no place for prayers. They have plenty of time to pray before the meetings privately.

Anonymous said...

Bernie already deleted comments. Fact is this Rev. is as legitimate as any other Rev. Close examination of the Bible reveals you are what you do and this man is a Rev.

What Bernie did was his usual pouting no class type action.

Why are those ten commandments up on the council wall. They have no place in a public government meeting room. They were just a stunt anyway. They should be removed and sent to their owner, who really needs to read them.

It is funny to read all the holier than thou,"Real Christians" damn and condemn a man for "praying", because he is not good enough or doesn't have certain,"papers". Then praise a man for disrespecting prayer.

Anonymous said...

WELL WE ARE A CHRISTIAN NATION, LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

Religion is nonsense and I'm not leaving. Get your head out of your ass and contribute to something in reality.

Anonymous said...

It is true that Angle needs the commandments more than anyone..Send them back and wish him well....

Anonymous said...

There's lots of God stuff etched on buildings in DC. The Constitution is the codification of the Declaration of Independence's pledge of rights given not by law, but by God. It' not surprising to read so much ignorance, as little history is taught anymore.

Anonymous said...

Screw the Fake Rev!

Anonymous said...

The goofy little ten commandment sign and the flag jammed next to it on the council wall looks like Hell. It is like an Alabama christmas decoration. Send it back to the man who put it there.

it was never serious anyway. As everything he did, it was just another prop in the show.

What is worse, a mail order Rev. saying a prayer or an elected official holding up sacred text as a prop for his actions.

Harry O' Bern said...

habbala bahh boobatahh amattaweeto tallalla-atta mihkushi mah pappa oo mow mow gaga oo lala.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This post is about legislative prayer, not Angle's need to read the Ten Commandments. I advise all of you anonymous cowards that he is now a private citizen and i will delete your spineless attacks.

Anonymous said...

I think Harry O'Bern said it best.

Anonymous said...

You made this post about religion and now you can't take the heat on the ten commandments. Who is spineless???

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sectarian prayer by the state is contrary to our Constitution. That is very clear. As for the Ten Commandments, the cases are all over the place.

I'm all for following the law. If you think they should be removed, you could file a lawsuit. But to do that, you have to id yourself and reveal that you have no interest in the Constitution, just petty partisan politics.

Anonymous said...

When 83% of the country identifies themselves as Christian, wouldn't you agree we are a christian nation? Why would the rules ever be changed for the 17%? Without a foundation how do you ever know when or if you feel good about something. You need to find some peace here on earth. There are many times in life when all of us have to "fit in." None of us gets their way about everything. The ones who are always offended and can't ever fit in are the ones who have very little to feel good about. All of their relationships suffer and they need look no further then the mirror. None of us are perfect but it helps to at least strife to be. For those who make it an issue you will never be satisfied. So for now majority has to rule. When it works in your favor I am sure you agree with it. So lighten up and try to be nice anyway. You may find you acquire a few worthwhile relationships. As to the jewish person who was offended I am sure you have plenty to be offended about if an opinion on this blog is that offensive to you. what a way to live.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Why would the rules ever be changed for the 17%?"

The rules aren't being changed. Here's what the rule, i.e., the Establishment Clause says. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

It applies to state and local government, too, as a result of the 14th Amendment, another one of those pesky rules.

Anonymous said...

BO you are right but there are 10 commandments all over the place and have been for years. To remove them now is giving in to the small percentage and that just doesn't seem right. Where does that end?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The law regarding the Ten Commandments is less settled than the law regarding legislative prayer, to be sure. But I'm all for following the Constitution, which is our shield from the tyranny of the majority.

Anonymous said...

When 83% of the country identifies themselves as Christian, wouldn't you agree we are a christian nation?
83% Christian? This is a answer that demonstrates as junvenials without rights we were indoctrinated to a specific religion. We now check that box as a reflex. If you grew up in a Jewish household you check Jewish. Even if you no longer are a practicing member of a particular faith ,you would be inclined to check the one you had dealings with. As adults with choices how many of those 83% stand by that forced duty.
I gotta start me a religion.

Anonymous said...

juveniles, sorry

I guess I should have watched more Bowery Boys movies

Anonymous said...

Amazing how you never raise this issue when Dowd and other religious people said prayers. Interesting, very interesting.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did not raise this issue with Dowd bc he was smart enough and inclusive enough to know that there are many faiths other than his brand. His prayers were nonsectarian. I did not raise it when an effort was made to get the views of numerous religions, including an Orthodox rabbi. I loved to hear these views and to hear about the different churches and other houses of worship in our area.

But Martinez is a false prophet with no church who spends too much time talking about Jesus and too little time acting like him. He threw out a sectarian prayer that would be offensive to people of other faiths. His very presence was offensive to me.

Cusick chose to call on a divisive person when the point of legislative prayer is to be inclusive.

Anonymous said...

You really are dancing on the head of a pin with this argument O'Hare. The base level of your animosity is clearly blurring any sense of logic in your argument.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not dancing on anything. I linked directly to a July decision from a federal appeals court on this exact point.

Dave said...

People who throw around Jesus' name are usually full of it. Holy roller's bore me to tears with their holier than thou attitude's. The man from Nazareth was an activist and a boat rocker and he paid with his life for it. He was brutally honest but he did bring hope for humanity. Following in his foot steps is dangerous territory..not for the faint of heart. I have the utmost respect for RED LETTER christians..the ones who do what he called on us to do in this life..his example is in those words attributed to him. The Rev should open the good book and actually read it!

Anonymous said...

The Rev. Martinez is no different than thousands of evangelical preachers across the country. Most of them have no credentials or got them in the mail or online. So most of you "holier than thou" folks think most of these people should shut up? You agree with O'Hare? Many Baptist Ministers have no "credentials". This was never an issue when the "right" preachers were praying.

O'Hare made an issue out of this because of his irrational hatred of Rev. Martinez and the COAF. BO was part of the terrible trio. His job was to help "sell" the plan to dump Gracedale. A group of people much like "disciples" took on the status Quo power of the government. Even with John Stoffa giving O'Hare taxpayer paid legal help, the people won out.

So this has nothing to do with prayer or O'Hare would have been screaming years ago. This has to do with the abject hatred by a lifelong drunk who has yet to resolve his emotionally charged issues of rage and inferiority.

Little man, little attacks.

Dave said...

Pure BS! Ron is retired and Gracedale is still in county hands. Stop the nonsense and get to work. The referendum was a huge success but it was a political success..not a religious one! Pancho is an ego maniac and Cusick feeds the fire instead of dousing it. Stop praying and start finding the answers to the counties issues.

Anonymous said...

Gee Dave, where was your voice on prayer for the past eight years. You must have really been pissed.

PS, I thought Bernie would delete comments with "private" citizens names in them. another commandment with relative application.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You thought wrong. Dave has identified himself. We all know who he is. Unlike you, he stands behind his words. He is a man. You are a coward.

Anonymous said...

Government needs solutions and initiatives..not public prayers. Since being a town council person for over 2 1/2 years in Bangor we have NEVER started a meeting with a prayer of any sort and I am glad this practice is not part of our meetings agenda. I respect all beliefs and non beliefs..so why go down that slippery slope if you don't need to? Thanks for your support Bernie.

Dave said...

Of all the supposed spiritual people in this county..Pancho would be dead last on my list to petition the Almighty with prayer!

Anonymous said...

"Dave has identified himself" Ok, I'm Bill. there we both just identified ourselves. My question stands. Also Dave seems to have a bit of Hispanic bigotry going there.

Oh, and again I am Bill

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:49, I agree with you. I don't see the need for an opening prayer as it is usually just a pr stunt. This is not about prayer, it is about the hate of a hispanic minster. If it were about prayer, O'Hare would have been complaining for years and especially the year Angle had many prayers said.

Lets cut the horseshit, this is not about prayer, its about hate.Oh and I am not anonymous
I am Bill.

Dave said...

Calling it hate is a total cop out..run out of ideas and places to make a stand and then throw the race card as a last resort? Just pathetic..BILL! As the last refuge of scoundrels and liars is patriotism and hiding behind the flag..you are no better hiding behind Pancho's skirt and throwing dirt instead of standing on your own two feet and defending his idiocy with the facts. He is a fraud and his theology is a breath away from bigotry against anyone who disagrees with his skewed theology. He isn't, wasn't and never will be the voice of the people he so desperately claims to be. A media whore if I ever saw one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill,

First of all, Martinez is NOT a minister. Second, I don't hate anyone. Third, I have NEVER been crazy about the Ten Commandments at Council or legislative prayer. Fourth, I do oppose Sectarian Prayer before a meeting. Dowd kept it nonsectarian, and Angle called in ministers from all over the place. Cusick has been too lazy to do the right thing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We all know Dave is the Dave House who sits on Bangor Boro Council. We do not know who you are bc you are a coward, the kind of person who supports that phony.

Anonymous said...

Prayer Is prayer. If you support it when one person says it and not when another says it, that is hypocrisy. Also, I heard Dowd's prayers and he used the terms "God" and "Our Lord" at different times. Some are offeneded by that reference.

I know Dave as Dave and I am Bill.

The Rev. Martinez is not "Pancho" so again, much like ignoring the prayers of the past and only now having a terrible reaction to prayer spells hypocrite if not outright bigot. You hate prayer, fine. I am not keen about all the prayer and patriotic flim-flam at public meetings either. But I do know one of the prime offenders and O'Hare had no problems with it for years.

Sincerely Bill.

Dave said...

I beg your pardon..I will cease using the "Pedro' moniker when he and you identify yourselves when you post as I do. You want respect? Try showing some yourselves. Stop hiding and come out into the light of day! And he saw that the LIGHT was good. Once again you and he can't follow the easiest directions of scripture.

Dave said...

Close the door behind you and pray to your father in private..again this is what is asked of us by Jesus himself..public prayers are hypocritical and again Jesus spoke loud and clear on the issue. Stop pretending you are devout or say someone else is..like your claim Martinez is a man of God. His brand of christian thought is repressive at best.

Anonymous said...

Did Pat Robertson really flash the stink finger at the camera?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It was quite accidental.