NewsThu Jul 12, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
First Hindu Chaplain to Open US Senate with a Prayer, Christian Protestor Arrested
By Elizabeth O’Brien
WASHINGTON, DC, July 12, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For the first known time in American history, a Hindu chaplain opened the Senate with a prayer this morning despite the protests of Christian onlookers.
Rajan Zed, an India-born chaplain from Nevada, was invited by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of D-NV to open the Senate meeting with prayer this morning. According to the Washington Post, Zed stood in front of the Senate and used specifically deist words, praying, "We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heaven. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds."
"May yours spirits be as one," Zed said. "Peace, peace, peace be unto all."
While Zed was making the prayer this morning, a man and two women stood up in the Senate gallery for bystanders. The protestors began praying loudly, asking for God’s forgiveness and calling what was happening an "abomination." Policemen promptly escorted these people outside and then jailed them. Just before being handcuffed, the Washington Post reports, the man stated, "We are Christians and patriots."
Former navy chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt requested two days ago that he be allowed to lead the prayer using ‘in Jesus name," but he was turned down by both Senator Reid and Senator Clinton’s offices, The American Daily reports. Klingenschmitt is a former navy officer who was court-marshaled for praying ‘in the name of Jesus.’ His case eventually led to a change in a U.S. law, rescinding a ban on "sectarian" prayer.
Klingenschmitt told LifeSiteNews.com, "I think it’s hypocrisy when Senators claim diversity, but they exclude chaplains who pray ‘in Jesus name’. At the same time, they welcome a Hindu chaplain to pray on the floor of the Senate."
He continued, "For the first time in American history, we have a Hindu prayer on the floor of the Senate. It may be legal to do that, but it’s also a violation of the First Commandment." In addition, he commented, "This man prayed to many false gods. He was committing idolatry right there in public."
Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America Policy Director for Cultural Issues, told LifeSiteNews.com, "The fact that the Senate would have a Hindu priest give the opening prayer in the senate just shows how far our nation has deviated from the original vision of our founding fathers." He continued, "The historical record is clear and indisputable that she was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that our founding fathers were Christian men, and that our nation is a Christian nation."
"It begs the question, which one of the million or so gods that the Hindu religion recognizes was this gentleman praying to? Which one were the Senators supposed to recognize when they bowed their heads to pray?"
Read related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Congressional Conference Directs Navy to Withdraw Ban on "Sectarian" Chaplain Prayers