Editorial: Prayer, politics

It’s hard not to be offended by the depiction of Lawrence as a “dark spiritual area” of Kansas.

February 18, 2013


It never hurts to have people praying for you, but Lawrence residents may be a little offended to learn they were included in a recent call for prayers for the “dark spiritual areas” of Kansas.

The request came from a group called the Capitol Commission, a Christian group that targets its communications to state legislators, staff members and lobbyists. The group is based in Raleigh, N.C., and has ministries in 21 states, including Missouri and Kansas. A Feb. 7 missive advised Kansas lawmakers, “Target prayer for dark spiritual areas of SE Kansas, Lawrence, KCKS, North Johnson County — ask God to restore the land.”

We didn’t know we were part of a “dark spiritual area.” We certainly could offer significant evidence to the contrary, given Lawrence’s many active faith communities and caring social service agencies, not to mention the charitable efforts of many individual residents.

It didn’t take long for some observers to note that the areas specified in the request represented the parts of the state that most often support Democratic candidates in presidential and legislative elections. It didn’t seem like a coincidence, but Dave Depue, the Capitol Commission’s Kansas director, assures us it was. He said no politics was involved and the group was just hoping collective prayer could help areas that aren’t prospering. “We’re just praying for the economy,” he said.

Really? If you were picking out the most economically troubled areas in Kansas, would you focus on Lawrence or any part of Johnson County? And, as Rep. Kathy Wolf Moore, a Kansas City, Kan., Democrat noted, Depue must not have been to Wyandotte County lately and seen the huge developments around the Kansas Speedway and the Legends.

Depue acknowledged that the prayer request might have been “unfortunate wording on my part” and said he meant no offense. Maybe so, but it’s hard to explain his choice of prayer subjects as anything but a political statement.

We certainly welcome anyone’s prayers of support for our community — we may even offer a few of our own — but it’s unfortunate when spiritual leaders choose to use prayer to make a political point.


Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

Don't take the perceived dis so harshly. Coming from those crazed wingnuts, I view the statements as a compliment.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 4 months ago

Agreed!! Proud to be everything the religious right wingnuts of Western Kansas hate. I love our little blue liberal island.

Orwell 5 years, 4 months ago

Complete the following: "It takes one to…"

chocolateplease 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm never very impressed when Christians judge others as if they judging were GOD. It gives Christianity a bad name. Glad to know this wasn't a mainstream group.

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Fine, let them childishly petition their Santa Claus-God for hours on end. We'll be over here doing actual grown-up stuff ...

"Dark spiritual areas," btw, puts the lie to the claim about praying for the economy. North Johnson County...he means the more lib--err--urban part of the county...and when he says southeast KS, I'm sure it has nothing to do this:


But very nice that Depue could add his own little dolop of dishonesty to this pathetic pile of pious excrement he calls a commission.

Alyosha 5 years, 4 months ago

"Unfortunate wording" likely means "Accidentally giving Kansans the opportunity to see what I truly believe."

We would be far better off if people like Depue and the Governor had the courage of their convictions and continued to say exactly what they believe about their fellow Kansans.

Then voters could make truly informed decisions and make sure never to vote into office people who violate James Madison's assertions about religion and civil government:

"The settled opinion here is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both."


Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

I wonder what Jesus would really think about these idiots who use H is name to add some sort of significance to their agenda? Personally, when I see any group or organization using Christ's name to enhance themselves, I go the other way. Who cares what "Jesus would drive??"

This "prayer" thing is just as non-sensical. Prayer is just another religious myth, and really means nothing. Why get spset at people who chose regigious dogma to enhance their political grandstanding.??

With much more setious matters tobe concerned with, I think this sham sould jest be ignored, as it deserves.

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I would have been fine with the issue being dropped (or never raised in the first place) and not seeing this editorial; it strikes me as Dolph feigning offense as a ploy to keep the molehill inflated and attract more readers.

Bob Forer 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't think this editorial was written by Dolph, but instead, a member of the editorial staff. I think he is pretty much limited to his Saturday Column. The editorial is signed "by JW Editorial." Dolph signs his with his name.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 4 months ago

Religion and politics. It always gets ugly when these two get together.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

"We didn’t know we were part of a “dark spiritual area.” We certainly could offer significant evidence to the contrary, given Lawrence’s many active faith communities and caring social service agencies, not to mention the charitable efforts of many individual residents."

The new muscular Jesus worshiped by the conservatives believe helping the poor is evil. They are cursed because they don't believe rightly or belong to the wrong church. They bring on all their poverty to themselves, so why help them? So, to these "christians" we are a "dark spiritual area".

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Nice trolling/non sequitur... that or you're suffering dementia and meant to post someplace more relevant like here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/mar...

Brian Laird 5 years, 4 months ago

It seems you define a "bigot" as someone who objects when someone else tries to foist their beliefs on them instead of just being the pliant "God-fearing" sheep that you want them to be. You might look the word up to see what it really means.

The only reason that the courts have let the In God We Trust stand is because they ruled that it is "patriotic and ceremonial" and has "no theological and ritualistic impact" - basically that it is something repeated so often that it is meaningless as a religious statement. So for your point, the "In God We Trust" issue is hardly one to hang you hat on.

Janella Williams 5 years, 4 months ago

What does this have to do with the editorial?

I actually have a lot of pity for you. You seem like a really mean, sad person. Let me pray that you become less of a hateful person. Amen.

voevoda 5 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps we can pray that Dave DePue and the Capitol Commission overcome the dark spiritual area in their hearts and return to Christ's teaching of caring for the poor, healing the sick, and embracing the outcast.

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 4 months ago

Using a taxpayer-funded public forum to call out specific areas as morally or spiritually superior or inferior to others as part of official government business is offensive, repugnant and intolerable. Voicing opposition to such hate speech is anything but bigotry. Those in the state house need to leave their bibles at home, sober up from their religious fervor and quit goofing off on the taxpayers' dollar.

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Crawford County was a closer margin for Romney (52% to 45%) than any other county except Shawnee:


Politically, SE KS does have a leftward tradition, originally having a large Eastern European immigrant population due to the mining industry (and with that industry, labor exploitation and workers battling for better treatment, like the famous Amazon Army of miners' wives), plus having newspapers and leaders of the Populist and Socialist movements. (Upton Sincalir's The Jungle was first printed in the Appeal to Reason newspaper printed in little Girard, KS.)



Part of me thinks "dark spiritual areas" might be obliquely referencing this more distant past, but then Depue seems far too dim and simplistic to bother being that knowledgeable...

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

You're welcome--but can you clarify what events in Parsons you're referencing? Maybe you found a link to something else I haven't yet seen...

Yes, Western Kansas gets a lot of flack, and I'm sure few would guess that 1 in 4 Kansas Republicans lives in Johnson County (including me). I guess it's somewhat due to the convenience of assuming that most of the opposition is separated from us by distance, when in fact they are just next door. We also fall prey to broader geographic stereotypes, assuming that rural voters, especially in the vacuous "Great American Desert," are pre-disposed to being cutthroat, every-man-for-himself conservatives. And the margins for Romney in the west do somewhat support that stereotype. But you're right, that mine-is-mine economic Darwinist mentality is actually more rampant in the manicured suburbs where material success is everything.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

  1. Say something really stupid.
  2. Watch people get offended.
  3. Claim that the reaction proves that your stupid statement must be true, rather than it just being stupid.
  4. Repeat.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

Jonas, you have really hit on it! Great work!!!

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

This is what happens when Church Groups decide they want to run a Government. Childish and amateurish behavior is no surprise. These people can barely run Their own Lives let alone tell us how to run ours.Stay out of my bedroom and leave my Wife's womb alone. TRY to do the job you were Elected to do. We want the Economy improved and Jobs Created. What? OH! I see That IS harder isn't it. Tough! Get to work. YOU work for ME. I AM a Voter.

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

Kansas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. You're welcome

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

With only 2.9 million residents to compete for a stark economy here in Kansas it is not hard to keep numbers low. Also you might want to note that most of the new job wages are either stagnant or have declined despite the fact Cost of living has increased. Kansas: Keeping you employed but still poor.

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

Kansas also has a high poverty rate. It is 12.5% compared to the national rate of 12.6%.


Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

If the Natl average is 12.6% and KS is 12.5% how is that high ?

deec 5 years, 4 months ago

30 states do better. Read the link.

riverdrifter 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey you getting drunk, so sorry! I've got you sussed. Hey you smoking Mother Nature! This is a bust! Hey hung up old Mr. Normal, Don't try to gain my trust! 'Cause you ain't gonna follow me any of those ways Although you think you must

We're not gonna take We're not gonna take it We're not gonna take it Never did and never will We're not gonna take it Gonna break it, gonna shake it, let's forget it better still

....We're not gonna take it We're not gonna take it Never did and never will Don't want (your) religion And as far as we can tell We ain't gonna take you Never did and never will We're not gonna take you We forsake you Gonna rape you Let's forget you better still....

-The Who

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

That's 30 seconds of my life I wont get back - nice read

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't know how we could live in a dark spiritual area. All I have to do is fly by the airport, tune the radio to 122.8, and key the mike three times in 5 seconds. The runway lights will turn on high. Able to see them 5 miles away. And the KU football coach, Charlie Weis, brings in recruits and shows them the KU stadium late at night with the lights on, lets them step on the field, and look up the hill towards the Campanille, which always has a beacon of light. That is so much more light than many places.

What? Pepe DePue was talking about a different kind of light?

Never mind. . . .

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

+1 -- and can't believe it took so long for someone to make a Pepe Depue joke...

msezdsit 5 years, 4 months ago

just when you thought the right wing nuts couldn't worse, they did. hope no one clues them in on fred or they will be protesting vets funerals and praying for alec

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