It has been an established and continued practice of the Maine State Senate to invite a clergyman to open each time it convenes with a prayer and/or comments. There are no implications of importance or notoriety carried with the invitation. It's just an opportunity offered to be a part of a long-standing tradition. I received such an invitation and accepted yesterday as my scheduled appearance. What follows is my "brief inspirational message". All readers are free to critique, judge, defame and/or mock at your leisure.
February 24th, 2015
127th Maine Senate
Session opened: 10:00AM
(Recognition of important persons and general declaration of appreciation for my invitation; gratuitous joke about Baptist preachers being long-winded and my assurance to act contrary to the norm.)
"So, to my point today. In keeping with the expectation of a non-sectarian address, let me point out then from our own State's Constitutional Preamble the position of our State's founding fathers and authors of the founding documents this quote, "... of the goodness the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.." Expressing just a few phrases beyond the continued need for His aid and guidance not just for our State's founding but for it's continuance.
Now, allow me to suggest and encourage this body to emulate the character of our Sovereign Ruler and God as it applies to this body's function. As His Hand was publicly recognized, so let me very briefly and humbly present that while His Sovereignty does indeed continue unbroken even until now and beyond, He also allows men free course to choose and to live as each may determine. And that is not inconsistent with His Purpose.
Even with regard to His greatest Provision for His creation - that being Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ by faith - He forces none to accept that high and Holy sacrifice. Rather, while being Sovereign over the affairs of men, He does not micro-manage any one particular person nor group.
Freedom of that choice and action as well as all others in this life is left to the individual.
It is this principle that is the heart and substance of what our Founding Father Thomas Jefferson declared as "Rightful Liberty". Rightful Liberty being unobstructed action according to our will within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others".
Article I, Sect. 3 of our State's Constitution as it applies to religious freedom in particular, very clearly presents this same principle of general freedom. I would urge this segment as well as the collective governing body of this great State to consciously and purposefully determine to examine each issue brought to this floor for consideration, it's merit based on our State's Constitution; to consider the impact of any legislative action upon the principle of Rightful Liberty; and finally if said action is in moral violation of progressing beyond the threshold of oversight exampled by our Sovereign Ruler.
In short, I beg you, not as a clergyman, not as a constituent, but as an individual citizen of Maine to consider any and all legislative actions in light of Constitutional and moral boundary and in keeping with Rightful Liberty. I urge you not to legislate because it's what you're supposed to do but rather make your goal to be a representative of the citizenry of Maine in accordance with the standards set forth in our founding documents and by those standards alone.
In closing, it is this citizen's view that job one of this and every other legislative body from the least local level up to and including those at the national level be to protect, maintain, promote and enhance individual Rightful Liberty and not become over-reaching, legislative over-lords."
PP Chaplain IIIPSA