Today, for the first time in this nation’s history, a Hindu led the opening prayer in the Senate. When I first heard about this I was not particularly troubled. I understand that this country is not a Christian nation, politically speaking. While the political philosophy of the founders was informed by Judaeo-Christian principles, and the vast majority of the citizens of this country are Christian, our government is not. There is no governmental basis on which I can say Christian and Jewish-led prayers in the Senate are acceptable, but Hindu-led prayers are not.

But the more I thought about it, I began to be troubled. What bothered me is the apparent motive for doing this. The offering of prayer in the Senate is for the benefit of the senators. There have been Jewish and Christian senators, and thus there have been Jewish and Christian ministers who have offered prayers before the Senate. To my knowledge, however, no U.S. Senator is of the Hindu religion. If no senator is Hindu, why invite a Hindu to offer a prayer? Who does it benefit? No one in the Senate!

On the face of it, it seems the motive for inviting the Hindu was to display a sense of religious open-mindedness. I’m not talking about the kind that is open to hearing what other religions have to say, but the kind that says all religions are basically the same and deserve equal time. If there were a Hindu in the Senate, I would not object. But without a Hindu in the Senate, this prayer was nothing more than a ploy for multiculturalist, relativistic philosophy.

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