Vaughn Baker, who carries the title of Pastor of the Christ United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, was chosen to perform the official, government-approved religious ritual in the House of Representatives this Wednesday. During that ritual, which is supposed to provide religious direction to Congress, Baker spoke to his God and said, “You are our God, and we are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture.”
Vaught implored God to make Congress like a herd of sheep: “Give us as well the gift of unity, as we are reminded that a house divided against itself cannot stand. May we strive to be of one heart and mind as we seek to accomplish Your divine purpose.”
If the purpose of Congress was to stand idly chewing grass, growing wool, while a more powerful Executive took care of all the thinking, this would be great advice. Given the critical role of Congress as a coequal branch of government, Vaughn Baker’s advice is thoroughly irresponsible.
Personally, I don’t believe in the power of wishing. If I did, however, I would not wish for Congress to become a group of people who all think alike, with the complacent, unreflective temperament of livestock. I would not wish that members of Congress would perform their duties according to what they imagine to be the desire of their favorite supernatural being. I would wish for intelligent, discerning, independent, educated adults who seek to represent their human constituents with open debate and principled disunity when it is called for.