Praying in the Name of Jesus: America vs. Nigeria

There is an ongoing legal battle in America between Christians and American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU), concerning praying in public places. Anti-Christians, under the guise of separation of State and religion, are suing people who dare to pray in the name of Jesus, especially at public events.

I laughed and told some people here at an international conference with me, that in Nigeria, we not only pray in the name of Jesus at public events, we sing in the name of Jesus and even pray in tongues. Let them come and sue the Holy Spirit. So, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) should get ready. Some people do not understand their constitutional rights. The 1999 Nigerian constitution guarantees religious freedom. Specifically, Sections 38(1) sates that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” while Section 35(2) prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion. To buttress the point, Section 10 states emphatically that “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.”

Our Supreme law does not end there. Section 42.(1) states that “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or (b)be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.” You know how we sometimes like to go for overkill in Nigeria. Therefore, the military that handed us our constitution did not end there. As if the above is not enough, they also added Section 222(b) by requiring that “No association by whatever name called shall function as a party, unless -… the membership of the association is open to every citizen of Nigeria irrespective of his place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or ethnic grouping.”

So everywhere you look, our constitution guarantees religious freedom, at least on the books. That is why islamization of a region will not work in Nigeria. Sorry, Boko Haram proponents!

On the other hand, the American constitution mentions religion once in its first amendment, ratified on December 15, 1791. The first amendment to the US Constitution, which is part of their Bill of Rights, states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” This particular amendment to the US Constitution has been wrongly interpreted by some liberal runaway Judges to forbid what it was originally meant to protect. How can you read the “Establishment clause” to foreclose public prayers by individuals? This was a question that I posed my students on numerous occasions while teaching law at the University here in America some years back.

In fact, a University cheerleading team had a banner with “God” inscribed on it and they were challenged to remove it. That may be understandable because the devil (and his agents) is afraid of the name of God. Do not even get me started on the removal of the Ten Commandments from American courtrooms. I received an e-mail that bemoaned this issue, while stating that we should not be surprised that when we remove Jesus from Schools (or public places); we are inviting His opposite into the classrooms.

American as the main super power in the world (and global police officer), needs prayers. Whether it is to prevent gun violence, check North Korea, combat terrorism or to promote heterosexual marriages, we cannot depend on our individual might and intellect. There is a four-letter word that describes someone who does not believe in God. It was so important that the admonition was mentioned twice in the Book of Psalms (14:1 & 53:1).

I have been privileged to travel around the world and know for sure that there is so much despair and wickedness globally. We need forgiveness and healing in all our lands. Three American women were recently rescued after being held captive for ten years, during which at least one was repeatedly raped and they only saw the daylight twice. Another man shot his mother while she was sleeping before going to a nearby school and killing almost twenty children before committing suicide. All this in the so-called “God's own country”. What should we expect from the other nations that are not God's own country, where a woman is gang raped on a bus or terrorists rape village women while beheading innocent children? A scripture came to mind while I was addressing a completely white Messianic Jewish (but spirit-filled) congregation in San Antonio, Texas: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chr.7:14).

So, let us pray in the Name of Jesus as loud as we want, especially for America.

Prof Alex O. Atawa-Akpodiete is an author, Computer Scientist, Educator, Consultant, lawyer, Political Analyst, Public affair analyst & Social commentator. He has a Doctorate degree in Jurisprudence from the US. He has lectured Law, Ethics and Security & Intelligence Studies at the University level here in Nigeria and US. He also writes for a state daily newspaper & national monthly journal. He currently divides his time between Nigeria and USA where he runs a PR and an international capacity-building firm ATAWA GROUP. Contact him on 1.917.972-2034, 234(0)8138391661 or [email protected] He is also on Facebook and Twitter

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Articles by Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete, Esq.