I have several friends on Facebook who are devout Christians and will occasionally post statuses reflecting such. This one was posted not too long ago, copied verbatim:
I am proud of Gov. Perry in Texas standing up for prayer for our American Leadership. A seven hour praying crowd of 30,000! Wonder what this country would be like if all of the State leaders held prayer like that?
I know what's going to be discussed in regards to this, but I can't help but ask what your opinions are. I firmly believe in separation of church and state, but how can that happen when prayer rallies are being held by politicians?
When I first heard the story, I was inclined to agree with you, but I eventually came to the same conclusion as Steve and Stephen above me.
If you search 'prayer' on the official website for the governor's office, you can see quite clearly that he is using his position as governor to promote prayer events.
"Perry did attend as a private person"
He is an elected official 24/7 and serves the people. He was also on the record. I would also assume that he brought his publicly funded protection service and the event required on-site publicly funded emergency services. In that case public money was spent and it does not fall under the right to assembly per se. As for the freedom of religion, it should not apply to public servants in a secular government as it violates the separation of Church and State.
Public servant - private rights is something you give up in favor of confidence of the people. They are supposed to be 100% impartial, working for the public good and their whole constituency. Seems to be an idea somewhat lost in Texas where the village idiot seem to always hold office... ;)
As far as I recall there is only specified a separation of Church and State, not Sport and State or Science and State. Thus no government money is supposed to be spent in or near a Church. As I read it the separation also applies to politics/politicians and Church, your mileage may differ.
I guess the spirit of the law is broken while the letter of the law is followed. Still seems like a piss poor excuse to me who sees it from the outside...
Servants are supposed to serve their masters, not insist on their rights. Constitutional rights are not the same as constitutional obligations. They don't have to exercise them and they should not for sake of decency. It makes them look like poor jesters. In addition, they are not necessary. There's lots of people in green and blue which get by without them just fine - they even have free health care!
As for the emergency services they are of course required. However, the bill should be footed by the organizer and not the public, for example by charging an entrance fee. Otherwise they can congregate at their own risk if they are irresponsible enough to not pay the associated costs. Or the Church could be financed by an elected tax - a word which always sits well with the fundies. ;)
In any event, the right to freedom of assembly stops at the right for public safety.
Given a median personal income of around $35.000/year, or approx $15 per hour, the prayer meeting actually cost the state of Texas 30k*$15*7h = $3.15m. Assuming all state leaders did such a thing with similar results, it would cost (30k/25m)*307m*$15*7h = $38.7m.
Please fight harder against such waste...
Ultimately I wish my country to have a clear separation of church and state but today I'm so glad that it does not have that yet because the very reason my country is the worlds least religious western democracy is ironically because we do not have this separation.
We have a moderate Lutheran Christian state church and having that has basically destroyed any need for the church to actively go spread its scripture or herd its flock. This way religion is just not an issue in our daily environment. The state church takes care of birth registration, confirmation, weddings and death.. that's it! The state church almost never interferes with any social, political, educational, or economic matters.
In short, the lack of separation of church and state basically sterilised the state church in Denmark.
Of course, in the future we will eventually have separation of state and church - but only when we are ready and wise enough so things won't devolve back to religious nonsense.
Yes - it is truly sad. The governor should start performing his job to help the country instead of letting god take care of things.
It reminds me of the movie Religulous where Bill Maher interviews a senator about believing in talking snakes, evolution etc. and the senator casually says "you don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the senate though ha ha" ... WELL YOU SURE AS HELL SHOULD!
You might want to test Pia Kjærsgaard while you'r at it... ;)
Actually she is one of the most practical and reasonable politicians around - we can thank her for making stricter immigration laws so our country does not overflow with immigrants that we can not afford to help and integrate successfully. Sweden and other Nordic countries now regret not having done the same and thus they have much more severe immigration issues today. Go figure.
Weeeeeelll.. I find her to be an uneducated, unintellectual, neo-con loudmouth who is only pointing at problems without finding good solutions and reaffirming underlying Danish xenophobia. A practical and reasonable approach would be to invite everyone who had a strong higher education to Denmark if they had a job instead of making it virtually impossible for Danish firms to recruit non-Schengen citizens. I'm not saying open borders to everyone is a good idea - yet - but it should be the general direction. Also the knee-jerk reaction to say no to anything from Brussels seems infantile.
(For Americans, think Ann Coulter.)