Despite all the talk about separation of church and state, the working definition of this doctrine is: rooting out all spirituality in government or government supported institutions; while encouraging government invasion into nongovernmental affairs of religious organizations (ex. The mayor of Houston Texas trying to subpoena the sermons of pastors who disagreed with her programs; legislative debate that pastors critical of gay marriage be accused of ‘hate speech’)
In the Bible, the disciples asked Jesus how to pray. The result of his answer is now the Lord’s Prayer. In anticipation of a snarkfest from the usual anti-Christian attack gerbils who respond to such commentaries, I would observe that the Lord’s Prayer is a somewhat abbreviated form of the Hebrew Amidah.
Also, there are few prescribed prayers in the Koran, but a comparison of the Lord’s Prayer with the Islamic Fatiha will reveal similarities. All these prayers acknowledge and extol a Creator, admitting their dependence upon His grace. So, the observations of this commentary apply to the God who is worshipped by the three major world religions, not just the God of the Christian faith.
In recent years, the government has sought, not to merely separate the bureaucracy from any spiritual involvement; but to actually replace religion as the ‘giver of all good things.’ As with all totalitarian governments, they have assumed control over anything that benefits the citizens (healthcare and charitable support are the most recent examples), labeled them as ‘entitlements’; then take credit for providing the citizens with such programs.
It is not acceptable that a deity might compete with government for the gratitude of the electorate. That said, let’s see how the government (and their ‘useful idiots’ in the media) has merely replaced the God of these prayers with a bureaucracy:
Our Father, who is in heaven
Our government, which is in DC
Hallowed by your name (means ‘let all people consider your name to be holy’)
Disagree too much and too effectively and you will be cited for Contempt of Congress or be audited by the IRS; or brought in for questioning by any one of a dozen alphabet agencies. The name of the government is ‘hallowed’ out of fear.
Your kingdom come
The job of bureaucracy is to protect bureaucracy and ensure its perpetuity
Your will be done
The government routinely ignores the will of the people on issues of abortion, definition of marriage, and letting Syrian refugees into the country. The will of the bureaucracy trumps the will of the citizenry it is supposed to serve.
On earth as it is in Heaven
The bureaucracy now imposes its will everywhere and has invaded the home of virtually all American families on issues ranging from bedroom activities to childrearing and diet. (Example-Government agencies now encourage us to get our children to clean their hands with a jellied form of 140 proof gin, only they call it hand sanitizer. Read the label.) Such ‘suggestions’ are routinely given without a shred of research about the long-term risk or benefit.
Give us this day our daily bread
The entitlement program, realizing that free cell phones are inedible, provides food stamps.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Complex. When an accused bad guy stands trial, the government takes on the role of the victim (example, ‘The State of Georgia vs. Mr. Bad Guy). It becomes the prerogative of the bureaucracy and Parole Boards to forgive.
Also, the government continues to use the ‘product of his environment’ justification as a mitigating factor in the punishment of the crime. A Parole Board finds it is easier to forgive a rapist when you aren’t the one who was raped.
Lead us not into temptation
How many behaviors can you name that previously were considered ‘bad’ that are now described as diseases? Start with alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography ‘addiction’. What a great, and typically bureaucratic, solution! The bureaucracy has managed to ‘lead us not into temptation’ by getting rid of all the temptations and labeling them as disorders, of which the American citizen is (you guessed it) a VICTIM!
But deliver us from evil
The bureaucracy, having failed to figure out how to turn Evil into an entitlement, employed the tactic of changing the definition. You will note that the media and bureaucracy’s list of Evil things includes Christians, conservatives, pro-life advocates, global warming critics, and anyone who opposes any governmental program.
For yours is the power and the glory forever, Amen
This needs no explanation if you have read all of the above. Let me simply paraphrase a line from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address: Government Of the government, By the government, and For the government shall not perish from the earth.
It is easy to become discouraged at the arrogance and presumption of our government. Especially at this time of year, with the election providing a selection of presidential candidates that forces one conclusion: whomever we elect, some village will be deprived of its idiot or some jail will be deprived of its inmate.
However, whenever I feel discouraged, I need to remember that I have read The Book and I know how the story ends. But I had better not explain it here; after all, a copy of this newspaper might end up in the lobby of a government office or, Lord forbid, a school.