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Andy Rooney and Prayer

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Viral op-ed piece attributed to Andy Rooney defends Christian prayers at public events: 'I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.'

Description: Viral op-ed
Circulating since: Aug. 2009 (this version)
Status: Falsely attributed to Andy Rooney

Email text contributed by Natasha B., Aug. 29, 2009:

Andy Rooney and Prayer

Andy Rooney says:

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

But it's a Christian prayer, some will argue.

Yes, and this is the United States of America , a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer...

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha..

And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome .....

But what about the atheists? Is another argument.

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn't care what they want. It is time that the majority Rules!

It's time we tell them, You don't have to pray; you don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back, and we WILL WIN!

God bless us one and all ... Especially those who denounce Him , God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all. God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

Let's make 2009 the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars.

Keep looking up.

If you agree with this, please pass it on. If not delete it.

Analysis: This is one of several viral texts attributed to 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney which he did not write. The bulk of the piece was cribbed from an op-ed piece in the Wichita Falls Times Record News written by Nick Gholson in 1999. A few fresh paragraphs by author(s) unknown have been added, and sections of Gholson's original column have been omitted. A similar version has circulated since 2000 — again, falsely attributed — under Paul Harvey's name.

Gholson acknowledged writing the piece in an October 24, 2007 blog post which contains the original text and additional comments by the author, including: "It has gone around the world and back several times, thanks to the World Wide Web. Believers love it. Atheists despise it. That makes me doubly proud."

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Sources and further reading:

Paul Harvey on Prayer
Netlore Archive, Nov. 2004

God Wrote It; I Typed It; Paul Harvey Plagiarized It
Nick Gholson's blog, 24 October 2007

Last updated: 12/30/10

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