Why Evangelicals Should Be Glad We Weren't Asked to Pray at 9/11 Services

Evangelical Christians have been complaining about not being included in various commemorations of 9/11, whether in New York City, Washington, D.C., or even here in Canada. But we shouldn’t be.

During my last year of high school (in North Bay, Ontario), I was asked by our varsity basketball coach to pray before our games. I did as I was asked, praying the usual athlete’s prayer for safety, good refereeing, our best performance, and the like. But I was surprised to be asked, and a little confused. Northern Ontario in the mid-1970s was already pretty secularized and most of my teammates didn’t go to church.

A few months later, at our graduation dinner and dance (the equivalent of our “prom”), the president of the student council asked me, with about a minute’s notice, to offer a prayer before the dinner began. I was class valedictorian as well as leader of the only Christian group at the school, so I didn’t feel I could refuse. So I prayed a generic prayer to “God” and asked for the most general of blessings — but my qualms were growing.

That’s the last time I’ve said yes. The University of Manitoba asked me a few times to pray at their convocation, when I was on the faculty there in the 1990s, as did the University of British Columbia when I came out here to Vancouver in 1998. And by then, I’d made up my mind. Prayer is a wonderful thing, and too wonderful to serve as a brief gesture to Canada’s past or a way of adding a bit of extra solemnity to a secular occasion.

Public prayer of the sort in question is a ritual meant to express a single sentiment on behalf of a unified group to a deity they all wish to petition. It isn’t part of an exchange of views, such as a university debate or a media talk show. I enjoy participating in such exchanges. Nor is it an educational situation — such as the world religions courses I myself have taught for more than 20 years.

Prayer isn’t supposed to be an opportunity to proclaim or teach your faith to others. Instead, prayer is a form of speech offered on behalf of everyone present to God.

Prayer in public secular events is like holding up a photograph of your mother and saying, “I’ve got Mom on speakerphone now, so let’s all tell Mom how much we love her as our mother and how we hope she’s proud of us for what we’ve done at university/work/war.” People would look at each other and then at you and think, “You’re crazy. She’s not our mother, and we didn’t do it for her.”

Worse than simply not making sense, prayer at public secular events marginalizes a lot of people: people who don’t believe in God; people who don’t believe in the particular kind of deity being prayed to, and people who do believe in God of that sort and don’t like the idea of an all-purpose prayer on behalf of an institution that otherwise pays no serious attention to God’s Word in its operations–such as the University of British Columbia or my high school basketball team.

Evangelical Christians of all people shouldn’t agree to pray at public events such as 9/11 services. Prayer is too great to be sprinkled on a secular occasion. That’s why I’m against formal prayers also in North American legislatures, city councils, school boards, and the like. These institutions, from start to finish, have no intention of conducting their business “under God,” with constant reference to the Bible and Christian tradition, seeking the Kingdom of Heaven in all they do. So it dishonours God to drag God in for a token celebrity appearance at ceremonies for institutions that otherwise ignore God all the rest of the time.

There’s no comfort to be had, furthermore, in claiming that “no one objects.” We Christians need to object: It’s our sacred rite that is being exploited to vaguely “dignify” a secular institution.

Furthermore, it is inhospitable to subject other people to a rite they don’t share. Do Christians want to have to stand quietly through a Sikh or Mormon or Hindu prayer if they work for a secular organization that happens to be dominated by those sorts of believers? Generally not, I’m sure. Should they have to? No.

So we Christians ought to model the kind of neighbourly citizenship that we hope our neighbours will extend to us whenever and wherever they attain the cultural power we have previously enjoyed. And may all Canadians agree to keep our public life full of people of various religious convictions and empty of all religious rituals.


This article originally appeared in The National Post.

0 Responses to “Why Evangelicals Should Be Glad We Weren't Asked to Pray at 9/11 Services”

  1. John S.

    Hi Prof. John. I like what you said but I also think that there are other ways to deal with the situations you pose above.

    I certainly agree with you that prayer in a public setting in a North American context is definitely not a place to teach a particular set of religious views and positions to others. But there are also other points in your article, which although I agree with, have different perspectives and therefore different applications.

    My 4 thoughts can be summarized as such:

    (1) Being invited to pray at a secular event is not the same as one inviting themselves to pray.

    (2) Your application sounds more divisive of sacred and secular and gives Christians good reason to further this divide.

    (3) There is an assumption that Christian (or any religious) rites marginalizes those not of that affinity.

    (4)Loving our neighbour can also mean extending to those of other faiths the same power that Christians have enjoyed; as opposed to “nobody wins” application described here.

    Allow me to explain them below.

    (1) You began your article with examples of people inviting you to pray. And then transitioned with examples of Christians inviting themselves to pray at secular events. They aren’t the same thing, is it? If my Skih and Hindu friends invite me to pray before our basketball game, I wouldn’t decline their invitation. But at the same time, based on context, I would ask if it were appropriate for me to pray for us (or not), be that after a team huddle or a camping trip.

    You being invited to pray at your basketball games is like your teammates and coaches saying “hey, we all have this distant mom sort of. You, John, seem the closest to her. Want to ask her if she wants to help us out this season?”

    I’m not sure if you starting with your circumstances of being invited to pray, drawing conclusions from that, but then speaking on behalf of Christians and Christians not inviting themselves to pray, are all the same type of situations.

    Ironically, you being invited to pray at a secular place and you being invited to write in the secular National Post are the same thing, I think… Not sure why you would decline one over the other.

    (2) One of your applications is that Christians should not dignify secular institutions with a sacred rite like prayer by dragging God into a God-less mix. I fear that this kind of thinking is very similar to the ascetics of old, the Essenes, and modern-day fundamentalists– those who draw a line between sacred and secular and wish to not mix the both.

    I personally do think that there is a difference between “sacred” and “secular”, but at the same time I think that Christians are expected to seek to glorify God in whatever they do, (as in St. Paul’s admonition in I Cor 10:31), This doesn’t mean that Christians should try to sanctify the secular or secularize the sacred. But Christians should try to be lights in a dark world, and cities on a hill.

    However, your application, I fear, will make us want to withdraw from public spheres of life, even if we are invited to be part of it.

    I think Leslie Newbiggin perhaps has the best approach as he explains in Foolishness to the Greeks. And I borrow from him.

    (3) Being someone from an ethnic background, having Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh friends, these people of faith have no problems expressing faith and having their religious friends from other faiths also express their faith. My Muslim and Sikh friends have no problem with me praying. Especially if they invite me to pray at a thanksgiving meal (a largely cultural and secular festival, might I add).

    When You say that Christians praying marginalizes those from other spiritual backgrounds, I can’t say that this has ever been the case. And this isn’t true for just my circle of friends in Surrey, BC. This is true for my friends in Toronto, Northern Africa and India (all of where I have lived for a considerable duration of time). Do you perhaps mean that there is a fear of marginalization? (as different from marginalization will definitely happen as sure as gravity happens).

    (4) And lastly, I will say that Christians should desire to “stand quietly through a Sikh or Mormon or Hindu prayer if they work for a secular organization that happens to be dominated by those sorts of believers.”

    There’s a flip side to “model the kind of neighbourly citizenship that we hope our neighbours will extend to us whenever and wherever they attain the cultural power we have previously enjoyed.” One way is as you have described– if you were in cultural power, we don’t want you to pray because we wouldn’t enjoy it. Therefore, while we are in power now, we will not pray either because we “know” you wouldn’t enjoy it. But the other way is that we as Christians extend to them the same power that we have enjoyed, i.e.: they too can pray at secular events.

    Firstly, to assert that other faiths don’t want to hear someone else pray is very assumptive.

    Secondly, aren’t you essentially super-imposing onto them a certain Western construct of marginalization that they have not heard of in places like India and Yemen, and telling them that this is how “progressive” we are? “We don’t want to listen to your prayers, so we won’t pray in public either with you because that’s oppressive,” is not within the cultural paradigm for someone from South Asia or the Middle East. If anything, super-imposing onto someone a cultural paradigm that isn’t theirs is marginalizing.

    Thirdly, is it not equally valid to assert “we as Christians want to extend to you the same neighbourly citizenship that we have previously enjoyed. When we were in power, we prayed and you had to experience our rites. But now, we want you to experience the same cultural perk such that when you are in cultural power, we would love for you to pray.” As opposed to saying “We don’t want to marginalize you by praying. So you don’t marginalize us by praying.”

    These are my thoughts on your article. And I would be pleased to hear from you again.


    • John Stackhouse

      Wow. Comment was as long as the post–or longer!

      A few replies:

      First, I’m making distinctions that you’re blurring. Praying is not the same as speaking/writing. One is a religious ritual that presumes a likeminded audience. The other isn’t. So offering a prayer at a secular event is just not the same as speaking at that event nor writing for a secular medium.

      Second, of course the sacred and the secular are different. A church is not a city council or a secular university, and different discourses are appropriate to different settings.

      Third, of course I’m not favouring the evacuation of all religion from public life. My last sentence makes that very clear. And the very fact that I’m writing explicitly as an evangelical Christian in a secular newspaper only reinforces the point. I’m favouring keeping religious practices for religious communities and public practices for public events.

      Fourth, the fact that your acquaintances are not bothered by the prospect of a Christian praying in a public setting gives me no comfort. For (a) some might think so little of religion, or of Christianity in particular, that they don’t care about what they judge to be a meaningless bit of tradition being practiced; (b) some might think all religions are basically the same anyhow; or (c) some might be confused, as you seem to be, about what is and isn’t appropriate for public events. The regions of the world you describe your friends coming from don’t strike me as paragons of clarity on questions of this sort–not that Canada is, either! That’s why I devote time to thinking and writing about such things, since globally I think we’re generally confused about these matters.

      Fifth, as far as my “imposing”–Really? “Imposing?” That word implies power, of which I have none–a Western construct on other people, I daresay if a BJP leader in India decreed that Hindu prayers would now be offered at the beginning of all political meetings, some of your Indian friends would be outraged, as well they ought to be in a secular state such as India is supposed to be. (And you’re not really advancing Yemen as a positive example of multiculturalism, are you?) Having studied and travelled to a number of other countries, I’m pretty sure I’m not merely offering merely a myopic Western view. But I am, after all, writing in a Canadian journal about North American institutions….

      So I think my article still makes sense in this context and in a variety of others–including India, interestingly enough. Thanks for raising your concerns, and I hope these comments make things more clear for you.

  2. John S.

    Hi Prof. John,

    Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response! Also, I sincerely hope that you don’t receive the tone of this response as contentious and debative. I am just engaging in discussion.

    I think you’re right when you said that I am blurring your distinctions. Thanks for clarifying. I see your point now in regards to praying and writing because one is a ritual (prayer) and the other (writing) clearly is not.

    Also, thanks for affirming that there is a difference between sacred and secular. I completely agree with you. As a side question: do you see a difference between praying at a sporting event versus praying before a legislative assembly versus praying in public schools? And would our response as Christians apply differently in different contexts? The way I see it is that a public event like a Canucks game is different than the BC Court of Justice which is different than your example of a school dance. And so I am wondering if we apply rituals like prayer in each of those situations differently.

    You cited your article’s last sentence as support for your conviction that you do not want to evacuate all religion from public life. I think we both agree on that. And I’m sorry if that’s what I initially heard you saying.

    I don’t think you’re saying that, but I was wondering if you could clarify. When you said that we shouldn’t evacuate all religion from public life I would assume that it’s acceptable for such ecamples as a family saying grace together at a restaurant, etc.

    How would you say we can balance “not evacuating religion from our public life” while we still have religious people in our public life? I ask because religious people display religious rituals in public life. I know that as a Christian, my discipleship extends past a couple of rituals in the public realm. But even so, would you say that a religious person, by nature, just by being present in the public sphere, would display some religious ritual? If yes, then how would we balance the apparent tension between “not evacuating” yet “empty of all religious rituals”.

    I think you raise some good points regarding India and Yemen. I initially cited Yemen as an example where our paradigm here would not work over there and vice-versa. But my point was not a good point, honestly. So, let’s drop it. Also, I see your point about the example of the Indian government instituting Hindu prayers at the beginning of political meetings.

    And this is the distinction I am hoping you would clarify for me: Would a political meeting be different than a public sporting event?

    And to give you some examples of how things work in India…

    many political meetings do begin with a “puja” or Hindu ritual. There are many Christian and Muslim politicians and others who accept this to be a normal course of events. Similarly, India’s Republic Day Parade, which is a national public event does a rendition of the Christian hymn “Abide with Me” at the end of the parade because it was Mahatma Ghandi’s favourite Christian hymn. Their practice is to balance all expressions of faith. One can rationalize this by saying that the Indian Government plays Abide with Me not to balance different expressions of faith, but to please the memory of Ghandi.

    Nonetheless, the question I asked in my previous reply still remains: is it possible to have a practice where we as a pluralistic culture respectfully ask all religions to not display rituals in the public realm (as you have suggested); or instead give everyone equal opportunity as they see fit? So, if there was a public school were most of the teachers were Hindu, maybe we should begin the day with a puja.

    To conclude, the 2 questions I have are these:

    (1) would there be a difference in how we as Christians apply ritual to public events that have to do with politics, entertainment, media, etc.?

    (2) Instead of having all religious people not perform rituals in public, could neighbourly love mean that we allow different people of different religions to practice their rituals in public? (e.g.: starting the school day with a Hindu puja)

    Thanks again for your previous response!

    To give you some context of myself, I’ve heard some of your lectures in the past and really appreciated many of the things you said on Christ and gender, Christ and homosexuality, etc. Learnt a lot from it!

    • John Stackhouse

      Thanks for your gracious response.

      I don’t think there is a material difference in this case to be drawn among public sporting events, legislatures, etc. The principle in each case, it seems to me, is the same. Prayer is a religious ritual, appropriate for congregations of the faithful addressing their common Lord. In a country in which everyone practiced the same religion, then prayer makes sense on every occasion. But in a country (like Canada or India) that officially is secular, with no established religion, then religious rituals are simply, utterly, completely, categorically inappropriate. (I trust I make myself clear. :))

      Thus it makes no sense to have an “open mic” for prayers of various sorts, either, since (a) it is unlikely that everyone will be represented (note the complaining of American evangelicals that they weren’t represented at the 9/11 service at the National Cathedral, even though Christian clergy were presiding in a Christian church–and imagine trying to please all forms of Islam or Hinduism in a given city or state!) and (b) it’s not clear what the point of such prayer would be. At least, it isn’t clear to me.

      Religions as world-and-life views must be allowed to shape people’s participation in public life. So legislators and judges and educators and health care professionals all must be allowed to be true to their convictions and to speak and act accordingly. The appropriate and inescapable difficulties arise when the right to practice one’s religion runs up against other rights and values in a pluralistic society, and that’s the problem our legislatures, courts, universities, public school systems, hospitals, and other public institutions are wrestling with across the globe. But I certainly affirm that religious people must be themselves in public, even as we each must be prepared also to compromise certain of our preferences and ideals in order to make a common life with those of quite different preferences and ideals.

      But this isn’t the place for a treatise on multiculturalism! I trust I have responded to your questions adequately. I do think we can be much clearer in our minds and much more consistent in our practices than we have been heretofore. We are only slowly, slowly emerging from Christendom in Canada and the U.S. and much confusion still abounds about how religion should and shouldn’t be represented in public. Let’s keep talking!

      • Andrew Kirk

        “Note the complaining of American evangelicals that they weren’t represented at the 9/11 service at the National Cathedral, even though Christian clergy were presiding in a Christian church…. We are only slowly, slowly emerging from Christendom in Canada and the U.S. and much confusion still abounds about how religion should and shouldn’t be represented in public.”

        As we ’emerge from Christendom’, it seems we have a lot to learn about how to work and pray with our own brothers and sisters, much less our neighbours. Dr. Stackhouse rightly challenges us to refrain from ‘using the Lord’s name in vain’. Perhaps if we work on loving our brothers and sisters, as well as serving our neighbours and neighbourhoods, people will see the emptiness of secular humanistic endeavours without the Spirit. Another way to echo Dr. Stackhouse’s call is that we cannot proclaim both “Man is the measure of all things” and “What is man that thou are mindful of him.” Our secular public sphere has chosen the first as its credo. We do not display Christian love if we confuse matters and continue to provide our tacit support. But to show Christian love to the world, esp. after Christendom, we need do so with Christian unity.

  3. evedyahu

    This is really good. Thanks a lot. Still – I must say that if somebody INVITED me to pray…I would find it difficult to turn him/her down. I wonder why?

  4. Mike in Pennsylvania

    Thank you for the calling Mom illustration. I teach a course on Christians and culture in a Christian High School and I will draw on this (with reference) in our discussions. Your writings have been very helpful in helping me think though cultural issues.

    Do other countries face the same question of prayer in official settings or is this just a North American issue?

    • John Stackhouse

      It’s an issue in lots of other places in the world, Brother Mike. Obviously it’s an issue in the United Kingdom, for example, where the monarch is also Head of the Church of England. How’s that for the modern entanglement of church and state?

      As I’ve been interacting with another commenter, you’ll see that it’s an issue in India, as it is also in Israel and Turkey–more officially secular states that include nonetheless very strong religious elements. It’s been an emerging issue in various Latin American countries as evangelicals press for political power there. And it’s an issue in various parts of Africa, as it was in the break up of Yugoslavia, in which a particular religion gets associated with the identity and agenda of a country or a region or a neighbourhood or an ethnic group, and then religion is exploited as a badge and rallying point. Public praying is thus a vexed issue in all of those contexts.

  5. David DeJong

    “The same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.” The problem with your “Mom” analogy is that in a real way everyone is a child of God, see Paul’s speech in Athens (“we are all his offspring”). I too would think you should pray: even if for many it simply gives an air of solemnity (by the way the same argument could be used to say we shouldn’t pray in church), nevertheless many people do want to acknowledge God and call upon him.

    • John Stackhouse

      Well, no, Brother David, the fact that you happen to think everyone is a child of God is not germane to the fact that some people think they aren’t and therefore don’t want to be lumped in with the rest of us. If you want to make such a point in a public debate, as Paul did, go ahead. But praying isn’t discussing: the whole point of a ritual is to be a common action with common meaning for all the participants.

      And of course we shouldn’t pray in church merely to give it an air of solemnity! What a strange thing to say! It’s only solemn, in a church or elsewhere, precisely because it is more centrally a form of address to Almighty God!

      Your last phrase seems to me to smack of “majority rules–and minorities can just put up with it.” That’s the sort of unneighbourly concern I address in my post: We instead should use what cultural influence we (still) have to form a society in which majorities will not, in fact, run over minorities but instead will accommodate everyone as far as we can.

  6. Grant

    “…it dishonours God to drag God in for a token celebrity appearance…”


    I agree. In a sense, using generic prayers this way places God under our control – a genie to pop out of the lamp from time-to-time. In fact, I’d go so far as to claim that this is an offshoot of the token-god thinking that Constantine used to help unify his “christian” empire, and it continues today.

    • Steve Wilkinson

      I’d agree and say probably more often it is probably genie-god in the sense that people really think that if they can slip some prayer into public events, God will be more likely to bless the country because they fought to keep God visible in the public (that sense of it seems quite strong in the USA with, for example, the prayer in schools movement).

      I also think it is often, related to the previous point, a method of ‘cheap evangelism.’ It’s a way for them to feel they have put God out there in public (done their part) without actually doing so in a meaningful sense in their day to day interactions with others. They can then just enjoy worshiping in their churches and ignore their duty to learn enough to do apologetics and evangelism. I think some people actually think so long as Christianity remains visible in public spaces (10 commandments in the courts, prayer in schools, crosses in cemeteries, etc.) that this will somehow keep the majority of people Christian. It’s odd thinking, and not well thought through, but I’ve run into people who practice this even if they wouldn’t state it as such.

  7. Pat Pope

    I generally agree with you, but I do wonder about the possibility that most evangelicals hope for, and that is the chance that someone in their midst having their heart touched and moved to investigate a life of faith within Christianity. After the 9/11 observance in New York, one of the top trending topics on Yahoo was Psalm 46, from which President Obama read. I can only imagine that some of those who looked up that passage may have been those outside of the faith who were struck by the beauty of the passage. Is it possible someone came to faith just through that reading? Maybe; who knows? I know that a reading of the passage is not the same as prayer, but I think to remove all Christian emphasis from public gatherings would be a mistake.

    • John Stackhouse

      Well, Sister Pat, I’ve argued about as clearly as I can here about the issues you raise. And I’ll respond simply to say that the possibility of someone being blessed by our praying in public needs to be weighed against the possibility/probability that we will do more harm than good in our public witness.

      Consider someone standing up in front of a crowd at a local cineplex and starting to preach or pray. Maybe someone will be helped, but we generally would think it more likely that the cause of Christ will be hurt by that.

      The Bible calls us, over and over again, to be wise, and that means generally not just firing off gospel bullets any chance we get, but considering carefully, not just narrowly in a particularl instance but keeping the big picture in mind, how best to forward the gospel among our neighbours.

  8. Spencer Capier

    Why are so many people on this comment thread committing so many glaring informal fallacies? Are Christians more prone to this or do I just find it more irritating when it’s done by our own?

  9. Paul Johnston

    With regard to your response in comment #6, Mr. Stackhouse am I understanding you to say that if a majority of people would be pleased and comforted to have God affirmed at a public event, they should resist the impulse out of respect for a potentially disagreeing minority? Have you replaced your assumed tyranny of the majority with an even less rational tyranny of the minority?

    If God truly is all in all, would a moment of silent relfection be inappropriate?

    • John Stackhouse

      For a majority to respect and accommodate the concerns of a minority is to exercise power considerately and compassionately on behalf of the weak. “Tyranny” has nothing to do with it.

      What you’re likely worried about is legislation that lets any person or persons dictate to everyone else what they must or must not do. But that, as you indicate, isn’t rational–even as our Canadian legislators and courts and human rights tribunals are reaping the whirlwind of the consequences of what is, in my view, much too extensive protection of the feelings of individuals and groups (protection that seriously compromises the good that free speech is intended to do). But I’m not talking about that worry here.

      Moments of silent reflection can be good things, whether “God is all in all” or not. I didn’t mention that ritual because it isn’t relevant to the point I’m making.

  10. clunkienz

    I think your post is the first of its kind that resonates with me. Here in New Zealand, there is much continuing debate about, for example, whether prayer should in included at the start of parliament (see latest news item here.

    I’m with you, and trying very hard to put it into words – it’s a bit like, “If you’re going to open with prayer, then at least consider God/Jesus/the Bible/spirituality when you make your parliamentary decisions”… which of course we know they generally don’t!

    There is another school of thought that says everyone deserves our prayer (see related example here), and I totally agree with this. The people in parliament definitely deserve our prayers, but the parliamentary process doesn’t necessarily – it’s in the supposed power of the aforementioned people isn’t it?

    Lastly, there’s the use of the word “our” in, “they deserve our prayer”… doesn’t our here imply us Christians? Doesn’t then, they, imply non-Christians?

    As you said, dignifying the secular occasion with our sacred rite of prayer potentially belittles the act.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    As an aside, if my non-Christian friends ask me to pray for their health/situation, I do. End of story.

  11. Daniel Ginn

    Wow, lots of good thoughts on multiple angles. I agree that God shouldn’t merely be dragged into public events as a token celebrity. Then again, it is my earnest desire that God have center stage at ALL public events! Often, I wish I could change people into something more righteous; but when I reflect further on that, I’m glad that I cannot.

    The primary difficulty is how to continue to be salt and light in a “post-Christian” culture. At what point do we give up our anxiety of having too much (or not enough, depending on how one sees this) influence?

    I confess to wanting to live in a “Christ of culture” world, so I know that this would require going through a “Christ transforming culture” period–the very thing that would mean the death of multi-culturalism. Or would it? Really? Certainly, it would in the sense that non-Christian cultures would disappear. And yet I find that even Christians have different cultures all over the world.

    I earnestly desire to live in the New Jerusalem. May God continue to work in the hearts of all men, and may He show me what my role is to be, if any, in that process. Marantha, Lord Jesus, and please also give me the patience while I wait so that I do not do something rash in the meantime.

  12. Jeff Chan

    Wow. Thank you for such a thought and comment provoking post. It definitely gives me things to think about. One question concerning praxis: In the event of nuptials of secular individuals whose family and friends are by and large secular, when asked to pray or conduct the wedding ceremony, how does this discussion play out?

    On the one hand, it is, to my mind, a wonderful opportunity for living out and proclaiming the gospel (in marriage counseling and in the ceremony). And yet, it may be that the individuals have no intention of conducting their marriage in regards to God’s ways. It could merely be a throw back to family tradition rather than any real petition for God to be the Lord of their marriage.

    Similarly, I wonder how this applies or if it applies to funeral services for secular individuals.


  13. Jonathan

    This is a fantastic (and lucid) treatment of the issue. I agree with you completely Prof. Stackhouse.



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