VA Congressman Randy Forbes (R), who started the Congressional Prayer Caucus, was a guest yesterday on the "Today's Issues" program hosted by Tim Wildmon and Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a far-right leaning Christian activist group. Forbes complained that there were efforts to remove all references to the Christian faith in America.
According to Forbes, there has been an "erosion of faith" in America which has sped up in the last decade which his prayer caucus is fighting, saying:
We see these anti-faith groups, very well orchestrated, well-financed, very strategically placed, trying to bit by bit erode every element of faith it seems like we have in the public sector in America. We determined several years ago that kind of enough was enough and we needed to draw a line in the sand, and we formed the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which was the first officially recognized organization of its type in the United States Congress to do just that, to be kind of a backstop for religious liberty and faith in the United States and to say, you know, that there were other sets of eyes that were going to look at these issues being made and try to hold this line on the rich history of faith that America has had sustain it for so many years.
Forbes said that there is standing room only in the weekly Congressional Prayer Caucus meetings held in Room 219, with Democrats and Republicans participating.
At the beginning of each session of Congress, we practice what we preach. We believe in the power of prayer, literally. There's a small room, that's Room 219 — it's right off from the House Floor — and each week, when the Congress goes into session [...] we go into that Room 219 and literally get down on our knees and pray for the country. And it started with just a couple of us, now it's standing room only with Republicans and Democrats that go in there every week and we really ask God for His wisdom and we ask for His blessings upon this nation.
Forbes told his admiring hosts that Congressional staffers and administration have a paranoia about anything that references the name of Christ and complained that when he introduced a House resolution protecting displays of "In God We Trust," he personally had almost 1,000 editorial board writers and bloggers "wanting to launch a war" against him.
Wildmon felt that Christmas is being attacked and Fischer added that the word "Christmas" is being treated like it is "pornography or profanity." Forbes suggested that there is a vast effort to expunge Christianity from America that is far beyond the wall of separation:
It is an effort to go after anything related to the name of Jesus Christ, anything related to Christmas, and there is a conscious effort to do that [...] Where we've got to the point in our country today is far beyond separation of church and state separation, we're at censorship now, where we're just literally are going into First Amendment right and telling people you can't even express.
Wildmon claimed that Christmas is the only religious holiday and Congress had no problem declaring it to be a national holiday. (Note: Congress sat in session every 25th of December from 1789 through 1856, and did not consider Christmas a holiday until immigrants from Germany and, later, from southern and eastern regions of Europe, began arriving in large numbers.)