[Cateret, NJ, Mayor Daniel] Reiman said yesterday that although he assured officials from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that the prayer would be nondenominational, the agency declined to allow the prayer.
“They refused to budge on that.”
And, on refusing to allow any prayer at all, Reiman had no choice but to not allow the Federal ceremony to use city facilities.
Ironically, the whole thing came to a head just a day after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Town of Greece v Galloway that it was entirely appropriate that a local government open a ceremony with a prayer.
A spokeswoman for the federal agency, Katie Tichacek Kaplan, told The Associated Press that the agency has a long-standing policy to ensure that naturalization ceremonies are “conducted in a meaningful manner which is welcoming and inclusive and excludes political, commercial and religious statements.”
Never mind that this is a time to welcome our new citizens into our heritage—into their new nation’s heritage—as a Judeo-Christian nation, into our society with its Judeo-Christian underpinnings, into our culture, the benefits of which are what drew these immigrants in the first place and which encouraged them to take the five-year march toward citizenship. That’s the true meaning of the manner of welcome.
It’s not a time to encourage fractionation of our culture by discouraging their assimilation.
The irony is it’s in the Pledge [of Allegiance] and it’s in the oath [of citizenship]. It didn’t really make sense. They acknowledge that prayer is part of many, many services.
Here is the oath of citizenship that newly naturalized immigrants take on achieving citizenship [emphasis added]:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
And here is that nasty Pledge of Allegiance (which too many circles are trying to purge from our schools and public ceremonies, and too many others have simply allowed to lapse) [emphasis added]:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
But the Feds don’t want even a nondenominational prayer uttered at a ceremony celebrating the naturalization of new American citizens.