Tracey Lind: A prayer for the Democratic debate

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Theology

Posted February 27, 2008 at 1:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. William P. Sulik wrote:


What was the purpose of this prayer?  To turn religious people away from the Democratic party?  It does not appear to be a conversation with the Lord of the Universe - just vague universal language designed to reassure people who do not have a belief in God that there are religious people who will sublimate faith to political doctrine.

Why not just use the prayer set forth in the BCP:

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (or of this community) in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

February 27, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
2. Billy wrote:

#1, because the Rev. Tracey Lind was being politically correct.  She could not utter the name above all names, Jesus Christ, because someone might say he/she were offended.  So instead of standing up for Christianity, in which she claims to be a leader by her title, she “sublimated” (good word you used) her faith to the whims of the secular world, as so many politically correct leaders of our church do.  They don’t have the courage of their supposed convictions, and it is high time they were called on it.

February 27, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
3. azusa wrote:

Not a Christian prayer - no reference to making this prayer to the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why does it have ‘salaam’ in its opening?

February 27, 6:14 pm | [comment link]
4. Billy wrote:

#3, because she is pandering.  I don’t understand why our Christian leaders think pandering spreads the gospel.  Pandering makes those different from you think you don’t respect your own culture and traditions, so why should they.  If she can’t (or won’t) pray to the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, why should anyone else who is not familiar with Christianity.  Political correctness has come to mean one does everything in one’s power not to appear to offend, even at the expense of one’s own principles (which we assume, without knowing, that she has).  Her prayer is not “respecting the dignity of every human being,” in my opinion, because by failing to pray in the tradition in which she is a leader, she did not respect the dignity of everyone who is a Christian, and certainly she did not respect the dignity of any Episcopalian or Anglican, because she said, in essence, I am not willing to put my faith in Jesus Christ as the way the truth and the light, the only way to the Father, out in society for it to be tested.

February 27, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
5. physician without health wrote:

I agree with Gordian #3.  Certainly it is appropriate to pray for Clinton, Obama, McCain, Huckabee, Nader, and anyone else running for office.  Coming from us it ought to be a Christian prayer.  I like the form in entry #1 from the BCP.

February 27, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
6. Ratramnus wrote:

Did no one notice the subheading, “Invocation for the Democratic Debate?”  This was a public prayer at a secular event, and should be judged as such.

February 27, 7:35 pm | [comment link]
7. robroy wrote:

I have long said this has nothing to do with the Church. Rather the homosexualists are trying to gain ecclesiastical blessing, so they can ultimately receive a political blessing. Gene Robinson, “please let me just be bishop of New Hampshire”, has asked his followers to “boldy [sic] risk the institution, itself” to advance his agenda while the statistics of the diocese tanks. Here, we have the political agenda moving forward. After, they have used the church, they will move on casting the smoldering shell aside.

But as I said over at Stand Firm, we need to tread lightly with Ms Lind and not criticize her for preaching the New Age universalist gospel instead of the Gospel. She just may be the next bishop of Central Florida when B033 is repealed in GC2009 and the floodgates are opened.

February 27, 7:37 pm | [comment link]
8. Billy wrote:

#6, are you saying that if a prayer is offered at a secular event, it should somehow be a “generic” or “secular” prayer, if a Christian (or Episcopal) priest gives the prayer.  To that I say, “balderdash!”  What possible difference does it make where or in what venue a prayer from an Episcopal priest is given?  The prayer is from the priest in the tradition of Christianity.  For the priest to not use that tradition in her prayer is bending and bowing to the secular interests of the world ... i.e. being of the world, not just in the world.  Is that ok with you for a leader of your church?  It’s not ok with me!

February 27, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
9. Ratramnus wrote:

I continue to be astounded.  Tracey Lind herself aside, it has long been the tradition in our republic for public prayer to take this form.  Dean Lind is open to criticism on many fronts, but this is not one of them.

February 27, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
10. Billy wrote:

#9, I disagree.  My 61 years of life have shown me that it has long been the history of our republic that the prayer of public prayers prays in the tradition of that prayer, and our republic has always had a tolerance for such tradition, regardless of what that may be.  Only since political correctness reared its untruthful head has there been a “tradition” of such “generic” prayers.

February 27, 8:09 pm | [comment link]
11. Ratramnus wrote:

With respect, I invite you to go back 200 years or more to find vague references to a Creator at public invocations.  I am a historian and I have read them.

February 27, 8:25 pm | [comment link]
12. Billy wrote:

Ratramnus, with respect to you, I have a batchelor and masters in history and I am an attorney.  I have read the legal cases regarding public prayer and I have read the history of praying in my studies.  My study and life experience simply do not equate with your position.

February 27, 8:30 pm | [comment link]
13. Ratramnus wrote:

We should probably get back to general rather than personal comments, but I think there are regional and situational differences (e.g., New England vs the South, Christian vs religiously diverse audiences), and we both know the law permits a great deal that good judgement does not.  Here or elsewhere, I would be glad to consider your evidence.

February 27, 8:50 pm | [comment link]
14. bob carlton wrote:

Critiquing prayers - this is what the Internet Orthodoxy was made for, huh ?

For some reason most of these comments reminded me of the good and right-living Pharisee, who we are told prayed as follows: “Oh God, I thank you that I am not like other people! Thank you, O God, that I am not a robber, or a crook, or an adulterer, or heaven forbid, someone like this misguided tax collector who abuses his own people! Here my prayer, O God, for I daily do what is proper and correct and-what’s more—a give a tenth of all my income to your work!”

None of us are clean from the sin of setting ourselves above, of separating for a life of purity.  Honestly, fellow Jesus followers, please stop.  As Jon Stewart said to “Crossfire” hosts Tucker Carlson “It’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America ... Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.”  Stop hurting fellow Jesus followers.

February 27, 8:51 pm | [comment link]
15. William P. Sulik wrote:

#14, bob, I agree with you—which is why I asked what the purpose of this was.  If it was to really pray and the person is a Christian, you have to ask whether you should do something like a public performance.  If you are going to pray—do it for real.  If the purpose is to give a vague religious veneer to an event, then I guess a prayer wasn’t called for.

Moreover, I know the Democratic party has been making an effort to reach out to “values voters” or “people of faith.”  People of faith generally respect fidelity to one’s faith.  I have much more respect for a pious Hindu even though I profoundly disagree with him.  And I find that I am received in the same manner.  Yet we are equally put off by vague religious pieties which reflect no belief - only a shadow, a scent, the end of an echo, as opposed to substance. 

Finally, you may see this as hurting fellow followers—I do not intend the criticism in that way.  As always, I see it as sharpening iron—improving one another (Proverbs 27:17).  You are quite correct—I am a sinner in need of forgiveness and mercy and training.  As such, criticism and correction is always welcome.  I have learned much from these discussions—even when I disagree, good points are made and learning and correction happens.

Some may see this as a beneficent prayer and not merely a religious covering.  If so, I would appreciate the correction and learning.  However, telling me to be quiet does not profit anyone—I go away with questions and other may think this is a proper spiritual discipline.

grace and peace,


btw, i will be out for awhile—but will return and read your response (or others) and learn.  I do not intend to shoot and run—indeed, I really do not intend to “shoot”—I am sincere.  This notion of public prayer is something I’ve struggled with for decades—even before I was a believer and the high school football team all said the Lord’s Prayer prior to kickoff.

February 27, 10:36 pm | [comment link]
16. robroy wrote:

These people are preaching universalism and using the Church to advance their political agenda causing incalculable harm. We are suppose to say, “I’m cool with that. How about a group hug?”

February 28, 9:34 am | [comment link]
17. Id rather not say wrote:

All of this reminds me of why I remain opposed to prayer in public schools.  Prayers that please everyone please no one, including (I suspect) God.

February 28, 11:41 am | [comment link]
18. Bill Melnyk wrote:

Lighten up folks.  Yes, she’s a Christian priest - but the prayer was offered in the context of the larger civil community.  In a way, she was acting like a military chaplain who sometimes is in the position of having to minister to many people of differing faiths at once.  Her prayer was fully appropriate to the situation:  “As we come together this evening, we thank you, O God, for the great diversity of our nation and its people who, throughout our history, have embodied the principles and ideals of a democratic society.”
All clergy learn that sometimes acting like Jesus is more important than talking about Jesus.  Folks who contribute to this blog might learn that, too.

February 28, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
19. azusa wrote:

# 18: Bill Melnyk: “All clergy learn that sometimes acting like Jesus is more important than talking about Jesus.”
Well, you know what than can lead to ...
Shouldn’t she have sought to include late-modern druids and other lovers of nature while she was at it? smile

February 28, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
20. robroy wrote:

“Yes, she is a Christian priest.” Do I know that? Not, really. I do know that she is tearing down the Christian church.

February 28, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
21. Billy wrote:

#18:  “Lighten up folks.  Yes, she’s a Christian priest - but the prayer was offered in the context of the larger civil community….All clergy learn that sometimes acting like Jesus is more important than talking about Jesus.”
So, apparently in your PC world she is to tailor her prayer to the sensitivities of her audience?  That’s not praying, that’s making a speech.  And is making a speech that is tailored to the sensitivities of your audience “acting like Jesus?”  Not in the Bible I read.  Lightening up on things like this sort of political correctness is why we are where we are today, after 40 years of being pushed ever so slightly, a little at a time, over and over again so we hardly notice, away from core theology and doctrine.  Time to stop being pushed and stand up and say, “ENOUGH!”

February 28, 5:41 pm | [comment link]
22. Bill Melnyk wrote:

Come on, folks.  The prayer was for an event that covers the spectrum of all faiths in the U.S.  It’s not “PC” - it’s an offer of charity that shows people of differing faiths can come together to express hope for a common good.  I can’t think of anything that honors the teachings of Jesus Christ more than that.  What I can’t understand is why you think you have to tear down someone else’s faith in order to affirm your own!  Isn’t God bigger than that?

February 29, 7:07 pm | [comment link]
23. Billy wrote:

#22, I agree it was an offer of charity, with which I have no problem.  But if it was a prayer (and I don’t think it was), then it did not appear to be a Christian prayer, and Dean Lind is supposedly a Christian leader.  Yes, charity is one of the things we are called to do by our Lord.  But not at the expense of our honoring Him.  The Great Commission does not say “Go ye into the world, preaching and baptizing in the name of hope for the common good.”  My emphasis, if you will observe, was not tearing down anyone’s faith.  I want Dean Lind to stand up for her faith.  I think you have truly shown the line between reasserters and reappraisers.  If we reasserters stand up for the faith and proclaim we are Christians, you say we are tearing down someone else’s faith to affirm our own.  You say we should not proclaim our own faith in order to keep peace among all differing faiths “to express hope for the common good.”  I don’t think Jesus would agree with you; in fact, I believe He said something about His denying before His Father those who deny Him.  You may call this a mole hill that I’ve made a mountain out of ... so be it.  But those same mole hills that we’ve let go on for 40 years have been built into mountains, through which Episcopalians can no longer see, hear or talk to each other.

February 29, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
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