Bradford Braley’s Nonsense Prayer
On the last day of work by the House of Representatives before the beginning of Congress’s extended Independence Day vacation, Presbyterian preacher Bradford Braley from Cedar Falls, Iowa was chosen by the House Chaplain to deliver the daily government prayer. Speaking to his “Great and gracious God,”, Braley begged, “As we approach the 234th anniversary of the birth of this great Nation, we ask You to rekindle the spirit of independence which values and respects each person’s freedom. Reignite the spirit of unity that overcame sharp differences of opinion to form these United States. Renew a spirit of interdependence which seeks the common good of all above personal preferences.”
I’m puzzling over the meaning of this latest big government prayer. I’ve heard that the Christian God is supposed to work in mysterious ways that don’t make sense to mere mortals. Is that what’s going on with this prayer – divine nonsense?
I can’t understand how, on the one hand, we can have a “spirit of independence which values and respects each person’s freedom” at the same time as we follow a “spirit of unity that overcame sharp differences of opinion,” and a “spirit of interdependence which seeks the common good of all above personal preferences”.
What kind of independence and personal freedom places the common good above all personal desires? Bradford Braley might have well prayed to his god to bring about both a winter blizzard and a bright hot sunny day.