You know that prayer that before today's State Board of Education meeting, which some found so inappropriate? It was read by arch-conservative Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond — but not written by her. In a gag on her detractors, she lifted the text from U.S. Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Earl Warren.
"The entirety of what everybody is freaking out about, I can't take credit for," she said, smirking, in an interview on a break from the meeting. "What it really says to me, which is very sad, is that people don't have a grasp of our history."
Here's the text, lifted from a Time Magazine article:
The last speaker was Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was raised a Methodist, now frequently attends Baptist services with his wife. "I believe no one can read the history of our country," he said, "without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Saviour have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses . . . Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia . . . or to the Charter of New England . . . or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay . . . or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut . . . the same objective is present: a Christian land governed by Christian principles . . .
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"I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people . . . "I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country."
Among Dunbar's chief detractors is the Texas Freedom Network. President Kathy Miller was surprised, to be sure, to learn the origin of Dunbar's prayer, which the TFN had earlier in the day called a "calculated and shameful attempt to use prayer to score political points." But Miller didn't miss a beat when asked about the gag: Whether the words originated with a liberal or not, they have no place in the public square. If Barack Obama opened a meeting with the same prayer in Congress, the organization's response would have been the same, if not more vehement. Where Dunbar's gag breaks down, she said, is in the setting where the words were first spoken: A prayer breakfast, not a government meeting.
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