Update: TU Reporter Tia Mitchell has an article following up Brumley's asking her readers questions about FBC Jax's plan to have members go with Brunson for his invocation - she quotes the WD - check her out, and chime in on her comments section!
Read Jeff Brumley's article in the Times Union today on the latest news of the Jacksonville City Council prayer policy:
A couple of miscellaneous comments from the Watchdog in response:
- I'm glad that Brumley has gotten the word out that Brunson has invited his church members to hear his prayer. I wonder if Jacksonville citizens will see this as I do: FBC Jax again flexing their political muscle to make a statement ABOUT prayer, rather than just being grateful for the privilege and coming to humbly pray.
- Let's see, if FBC Jax can get hundreds to file in for the prayer and then quietly leave after the "Amen", maybe the Jews and the Muslims and then the Lutherans and the Catholics can do the same - maybe even outdo the FBCJ'ers.....and then maybe Jack Webb can set the prayer rotation by the number of people who turn out! Maybe we can have an "Amen meter" measure the intensity of the concluding Amen. If FBC Jax has hundreds show up next Tuesday, they get first dibs on the next prayer date in the rotation. If the Catholics only get a few: back of the pack you slackers, you don't take your faith serious enough!
- Or better yet: if they really want to pray that badly down at City Hall, maybe we can get the religious folks to PAY for the privilege! This could actually be a city revenue enhancer! Churches pay zero taxes on their revenue, so this could be their way to finally contribute to the city coffers. In fact, City Hall can follow FBC Jax's lead and start CHARGING for the privilege of getting time on the City Hall stage! FBC Jax charges ministries for "promotions packages" during their pastor's conference to sell exposure on their auditorium screens and on bottled water and conference bags and every other way imaginable, so maybe the city can hire a promotions firm and it won't be long until we hear:
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our August 2010 council meeting tonight....let's give it up for MAC Baaa-RUNSONNNN...tonight's prayer and bottled water is brought to you by the good people of FBC Jacksonville...where Jesus is number one, and we take church discipline to a ho-nutha level!! Now, the man you've been waiting for, the pray-er of the day-er: heeeeeeeere's MAAAAC!"
We can call it "Prayer for Pay" or "Let the Pray-er be the Payer".
Ok, back to some serious thoughts:
- FBC Jax seems to make the wrong moves over and over on this matter. Redman demands the Muslim professor to pray like a trick pony. Smyrl declares the Catholic church a cult, and that Muslims must be converted or our kids will come under Muslim law. Yarborough tells reporter Mark Woods he is not sure Muslims have a right to hold political office. Brunson gets the privilege to be the first to offer a prayer under Webb's tenure, he tells his followers to show up en masse for the prayer. What's next?
- I wonder why Brunson declined to be interviewed by Brumley. He has complained in the past about not getting positive press coverage from the paper, and here Brumley wants to get the word out about his prayer. Is Brunson not speaking to Brumley anymore?
- The story says Jack Webb is Catholic. Yikes, that spells trouble for him with the FBC Jax folks on the council. Jim Smyrl, FBC Jax's 2nd in command preacher behind Brunson, has written and preached that the Catholic church is a "cult", and has called a priest a "cult leader". Smyrl has even gone as far as telling his followers at FBC Jax that they should befriend Catholics so they can confront them with "living a lie" as a Catholic. Will Smyrl be there to confront Webb about living a lie? Is Yarborough and Redman concerned that they elected a cult member as the council president?
- Yarborough is concerned that this move toward opening the prayer to other faiths spells trouble, possibly leading the city to "decay". I think having too much Baptist influence in this city - FBC Jax in particular - has already spelled trouble and embarrassment for our city, so maybe we should be looking for inclusion of some others.
Actually, I'm not all that concerned about whether there is prayer at the City Council. I don't think God is impressed at all, and He probably rolls his eyes when he sees these professional religious leaders piously praying in public. Most of them will read a prayer they have written, and many will be using the prayer not so much to talk to God, but to talk to the city council through the prayer.
But I think City Hall needs to be more like the modern day evangelical mega church: to the greatest extent possible, use religious-oriented events like invocations as opportunities to raise revenue from gullible religious folk, charging dollars wherever they can be charged.
It is the modus operandi in the church nowadays, so why not City Hall?