Disappointing: Hawaii Senate ends prayer after ACLU lawsuit

The last official opening day prayer, Jan. 19, 2011.

Why is the ACLU so successful? Because people capitulate so easily to their threats. The ACLU wins so many battles without breaking a sweat.

A citizen complained to the Hawaii Attorney General’s office that prayers given by invited speakers before the Hawaii Senate often referenced Jesus Christ. The Attorney General advised the Hawaii Senate that if invited speakers continued to reference Jesus Christ (which would be Christian-specific) the courts would intervene because it could be construed as an establishment of religion.

The Hawaii Senate could have instructed invited speakers to make prayers simply to God (rather than Jesus, Abba, Allah or Buddha). In fact, a 3-member panel of State Senators recommended just that. But the Hawaii Senate decided to end the daily prayer completely.

The only Senator to address the legislative body in support of preserving the decades-long tradition of the daily invocation was Sam Slom:

“The Senate must stand for something and not back away when there are challenges by individuals or organizations who make it their point nationally to have this as an objective. As intelligent as we may be, we can still call on someone higher to help us and guide us. And again, I’m fine with this being voluntary. We don’t have to have this as a formal part of the day, if that’s what Members want. But I think that to take this out of our rules, and by our omission tell the community that we no longer think this is important, I think, is a mistake.”

Perhaps this is telling, but Sam Slom serves as Minority Leader because in fact he is the only Republican in the Hawaii Senate.



  • JohnE

    This is disingenuous state-sponsored censorship. No one is forced to pray, and no one is forced to offer a Christian prayer. It just happens that most people who wish to pray are Christian.

  • Bruce

    There is no God but Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All other gods or notion of gods are false. The ACLU doesn’t understand that because it does not want to.



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