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Who decided art work of praying wasnt OK for City Hall display?
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I would like to applaud the wonderful work of artist Jessie Marinas, whose art exhibit at City Hall this week was something to behold.  How sad, however, that two different pictures, one depicting the passion of Christ, and the other a circle of American soldiers obviously praying before going into battle, was excluded in the name of “separation of church and state”.  

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse when I say that our founding fathers had absolutely no idea that it would come to this.  Separation of church and state was instituted to protect religious liberties from the intrusion of government.  Over the years, liberal-minded folks have twisted the idea until now we can’t even publicly display the picture of anything that depicts the Bible or religious expression.  Mr. Marinas has done a magnificent job of portraying the spirit of soldiers who live each day on the brink of life and death.  Having graduated from Army chaplain school, and served in Vietnam in the Chaplain’s Corps, I can assure you that gathering for prayer prior to a dangerous assignment that requires men and women to put their lives on the line for freedom is a very common scene.  

I wonder who makes the decisions at City Hall regarding the artwork selection.  Whose definition determines what exactly is meant by separation of church and state?  Names typically are not mentioned when it comes to a story like this; it’s just “the decision was made that the passion of Christ and the tribute to America’s brave soldiers could not be displayed.”  And what are we afraid that someone might see?  Will it really harm someone who looks upon a group of American soldiers praying and holding a Bible? Could someone not look upon the passion of Christ and at the very least appreciate it for its historical value?  Are the young minds and hearts of children who might see such things going to be scarred?  

I, for one am hungry to see common sense restored to the fabric of our culture.  It makes absolutely no sense to deprive those who appreciate the beautiful work of an artist solely in the name of separation of church and state.  There is an undercurrent in the land leading to a day when those of us who are becoming fed up with the nonsensical actions of government will unite to clean the slate and usher in a new group of leaders who can think intelligibly and be sensible, who understand that government is for the people and by the people.  

God bless America, and may God hasten the day when we can return to the principles that for so many years have made this the country that others can only dream about.  
Pastor Mike Dillman  
The Place of Refuge Church
Oct. 22, 2009