Wednesday, October 31, 2012
When Prayer is a Crime
There is hardly ever a time when there is nothing to say through this blog, but often moments when it is hard to choose the subject. I can end up feeling paralyzed by the emerging realities of our world and the faith component of those circumstances. The Haj to Mecca came and went over the weekend with 3.5 million pilgrims making this extraordinary spiritual commitment. The aftermath of Sandy is a huge story.
So what do I choose for today? A praying police chief. There is a new police chief in Winnipeg, a city with lots of inner city crime, including gangs. The chief, Devon Clunis is a 25 year veteran of the force but he immediately put his foot in it, or maybe is was his knees. In an interview with Christian Week magazine he encouraged Winnipeggers of all faiths can pray for the reduction of crime and safety of the city. "What would happen if we all just truly -- I'm talking about all religious stripes here -- started praying for the peace of this city and then actually started putting some action behind that?"
There was an immediate reaction to this terrible thought-- imagine invoking the Creator's intervention in crime! An ethicist at the University of Manitoba weighed in, claiming that "no one chose him to be police of our souls." Pulleeze. A low-key, non-sectarian encouragement to pray for the wellbeing of the city creates a stir. Clunis could probably have advocated locking up all the Bad Guys and throwing away the key with less reaction.
Well, you know my feelings. What do you think? Should Clunis have kept his mouth shut on this one, or is okay to acknowledge one's personal convictions? Why have we become so militant about keeping any expression of faith and religion out of the public square?