Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Havre makes the News all the way to Belgrade Montana

While the Montana Legislative Fiscal Division is busy trying to decide if closing Northern would be a good money saving option Havre continues to be featured in the news around the state, but not necessarily positive news. The Belgrade News had an excellent article in today’s paper about our little ACLU complaint that was filed by the very Havre Professors whose jobs we are now supposed to save by rallying around the college to prevent yet another attempt to either close or reduce programs. You think people that would lead you to believe they were of superior intelligence like these intellectually superior professors would know when we need some positive press around the state instead of news stories about their half-baked ACLU antics.

The following is what the good folks of Belgrade are reading about our little community in their paper tonight.

Sorry situation in Havre
By Izzy Lyman

This is sorry.

In keeping with the childish mea culpa craze that continues to sweep the nation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana wants an apology from Montana State University-Northern officials for allowing a spiritually-incorrect minister to participate in the school's 2010 commencement program.

The ACLU-Big Sky chapter claims that the religious orations of Pastor Tim Zerger, who offered the invocation and benediction at MSU-Northern's graduation, weren't sectarian enough.

School faculty members contacted the ACLU after the cap-and-gown event in Havre, grumbling about the "evangelical Christian prayers given."

Professor Janet Trethewey, who is also a member of the Havre City Council, complained that the "minister in question was definitely proselytizing."

John Snider, an English professor, huffed that he did "not wish the state to force me to attend graduation as part of my job and then force me to listen to any prayer from any religious tradition."

Fortunately, Ms. Tattletale, Mr. Small-Minded, and the American Civil Anti-Conservative Union weren't around when Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount in the original Aramaic, or we U.S. Americans might have never read the sermon in everyday English.

During his graduation day prayer, Zerger, who is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, described Jesus, not as his home boy or as an inspiring leader on par with Che Guevara (trendy descriptions that might have appeased Commissars Trethewey and Snider), but as a "personal savior."

Although this is how Christianity's founder actually described himself, Elizabeth L. Griffing, ACLU-Montana's legal director, wasn't impressed with such historical accuracy.

Griffing dispatched a five-page letter to the Board of Regents and a pair of higher education lawyers, who work for the state, and claimed that the Establishment Clause and Montana Constitution had been violated by Zerger's prayers.

For good measure, she also referenced Lee v. Weisman, a Supreme Court case about public prayer at a middle school graduation ceremony held in Rhode Island. Given how over-the-top the complaint is, one wonders why Griffing didn't also insist that the Geneva Conventions had been violated and demand that the matter be settled at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

Nowhere in the lengthy letter were Zenger's offensive religious orations cited. Apparently, there is no video of the pastor or text of his remarks floating around on the Internet.

So it's the professors' word against The Word (John 1:1).

Attorney Mathew D. Staver, of the Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation organization dedicated to promoting religious freedom, says the American Civil Liberties Union is wrong.

"The ACLU wants to treat a university graduation like a kindergarten class. The Supreme Court has never prohibited prayer or religious viewpoints from college graduation ceremonies. The ACLU needs to grow up in its understanding of how the First Amendment works on college campuses," Staver said.

Professors Trethewey and Snider could stand to do a little growing up of their own and be more gracious toward a fellow Montanan whose big sin has been to follow his heart.

But, of course, you already know how this is going to turn out. Even if the ACLU doesn't extract a pound of flesh from university officials, it'll be a cold day in you know where before Zerger is invited to deliver an invocation or a benediction or both at a public institution of higher learning.

Conversely, Tim Zerger now has fodder for a rousing sermon about the continued silencing of Christians in the public square.

Deliver it while you can, Pastor.

Izzy Lyman is a freelance columnist and former Belgrade resident who contributes "A Woman's World" exclusively to the Belgrade News. Reach her at ilyman7449@aol.com


  1. Yep, this is the kind of things Havre is noted for. Havre has it

  2. Yep, this is the kind of things Havre is noted for. Havre has it

  3. There is a big difference in the reading on the Sermon on the Mount - which is where people gathered intentionally to hear Jesus talk - and prayer at a state funded college.

    Also, I don't believe Jesus ever forced people to listen to him. He spoke to people, hung out at their homes, had dinner with them, but I have a feeling if they were ever made uncomfortable, he did not criticize them for their lack of belief or call them names such as Ms. Tattletale or Mr. Small-Minded.

    I also don't see how it is the professors' words against The Word. No one disputes what happened, they are disputing whether it was ethically and morally right to have Christian prayer at a graduation at a state funding assembly where multiple religions existed.

    No where in the New Testament or Jesus' words does He say that people HAVE to follow him. He simply states that his claim as the truth, the way, and the light. Not once did he turn away non-believers or sinners.

    I really don't see the point of this letter. She seems to be attempting to use religion and name calling to justify the pastor's actions, instead of actually pulling Montana law or evidence of how it might have been acceptable.

    Which, I would be curious to know what the pastor's opinion on this whole ordeal is.

  4. I think what's getting lost here is why are Christians always targeted for their religious points of view? If a Christian pastor is asked to lead prayer, what do people expect him to say? Why were these professors shocked when he prayed how he did?
    What would they have preferred instead? If having a pastor pray at a graduation is infringing on anyone's rights, why did the organizers of the graduation not foresee this being an issue? Why ask any pastor to bless any ceremony, ever... esp. one that is funded with tax pay dollars!
    How ridiculous!

  5. I was more shocked that a prof would write that sick poem and that the other was an elected official.

    Now this woman's husband wants to take this crapola view to Helena. They still open the legislature with a prayer. Does Trethewey know that?

  6. The governments forcing of people to participate in religious rituals is much clearer for anyone who has had an offense involving alcohol.

    Even the so-called "educational" programs that are commanded for DUI people are direct dogma, indoctrination, and govermental attempt to convert people to the AA faith.

    The misinformation and disinformation that is promoted, marketed, and prosyltized as medical fact by the professional steptards is neither medical nor is it fact.

    People are incarcerated, have lost custody of children, have lost employment, and have been DENIED organ transplants for failing to convert and participate in the state religion of the United States.

    There is quite a debate going on right now.


  7. I don't see how Snyder's poem plays into anything. It was on a site no way affiliated with northern. It does notb mean anything about him as a person except that he can be graphic in his social commentary and artistic expression.

    There is a very popular series of books by stephanie Meyer. They are about vampires. They do not mean she believes in vampires or believes in people becoming vampire - they are artistic expression.

  8. Dande you seem to forget that poen links to northern when he left his msu e mail link. I for one think he is sick and his sick thaughts will someday become actions. Would you want you're kids around him? If a old man looks at a young girl he is a pervert this poem is clearly sick so he is a sicko.

  9. I guess I read his poem to be symbolic of how innocence of mankind is bastardized and destroyed often by its own government and how society feels hopeless to stop it.

    And just because some one rights something doesn't mean its who they are. Cormac McCarthy is an amazing author. He wrote the road, no country for old men, and a book about apache Indians slaughtering white men as they attempted to settle the west.

    This does not mean Mr. McCarthy promotes senseless killing and violence.

    Plus if you are that offended by Mr synder's poem, tell him. Tell the college. Don't just sit there and say he's a pervert and a sicko unless you actually know him.