Military Chaplain Offended by Prayers to Jesus at Horse Show, Says God Must Be Generic

(Photo: U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Veronica Salgado)Richard Frazier, United States Marine Corps League Chaplain, gives an invocation to all the veterans and supporters who attended the Veterans Day Observance in Tularosa, N.M., Nov. 11, 2008. As part of the ceremony, a blessing was given to veterans from all branches of the military in honor of Veterans Day.

Chaplain for the 108 American Legion in New Mexico, Richard Frazier complained about the "Christian propaganda" and prayers to Jesus he was forced to put up with at a Wild West horse show he paid to attend in Alamogordo, N.M., two weeks ago.

"We went to see what was advertised as a horse show, but [it] turned into a proselytizing Christian religious event," Frazier complained in an Alamogordo Daily News report.

"Why wasn't the show billed as a Christian event?" Frazier asked. He said the show should have been properly advertised to inform citizens of the dogma to which they would be exposed.

Couy Griffin, an elder at the New Heart Cowboy church, noted in the report, however, that his family hosted the show and chose to open the show with flags to "represent the country" and his beliefs.

"I didn't advertise it as a Christian show, but I also didn't advertise it as a patriotic show, either," Griffin told the Daily News. "We flew the flag for the United States of America, the New Mexico flag with the Zia symbol, the Christian flag, and the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action flag."

Among other things, he also started the event with a prayer.

"I said a prayer, and I quoted John 14:6," said Griffin who noted that if anyone was offended by the prayers he would have happily given them a refund.

"What I shared that night wasn't like a hate message or a radical fundamental message, it was just what the Bible says about the hope of Jesus Christ," said Griffin of the show which was held on Aug. 14.

The chaplain, however, argued that Griffin should have been more mindful of his audience and taken other theological views into consideration before praying directly to Jesus Christ.

"It's fine for him to say a prayer, but the god has to be generic," said Frazier. "There should be nothing about Muhammad, Jesus or Joseph Smith in a prayer during a public event."

"We are a country founded on religious freedom, and with that freedom comes responsibility," Frazier explained. "We have a responsibility to respect the fact that not everyone shares in the same religious belief, and we must be mindful not to impose our beliefs on others."

Frazier, who said he received the title of chaplain from the Marine Corps League, further explained that as a chaplain for military members he was taught to be sensitive and respectful to other religious beliefs.

"We have people in this country from all walks of life and all of them have different beliefs," Frazier said. "Not everyone prays to Jesus."

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