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Governor’s Prayer Breakfast Features Theocrat Refugee

Governor Dennis Daugaard hosts the South Dakota Governor’s Prayer Breakfast Friday at 6:20 a.m. at the Pierre Ramkota. The event takes contributions, and tickets are still $20. The event website (yes, the breakfast is apparently a big enough deal to have its own website) claims to welcome “people of all faiths and professions” (so I suppose a professing atheist like me could attend, if I believed in spending $20 on breakfast), but the event is “centered on Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World.” So let’s be clear: this is our elected officials gathering to say, “Yay, Jesus!” and to urge others to do the same.

Virginia Prodan, theocratic refugee.
Virginia Prodan, theocratic refugee.

Making the breakfast even less inclusive is the featured speaker, attorney and “Victory Coach” (eye roll) Virginia Prodan. She lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based fundagelical smokescreen group that pushed the harmful anti-trans potty bill that Governor Daugaard vetoed in 2016. ADF says homosexuals are out to destroy Christianity and civilization. She wants Christian pastors to politicize their pulpits. And she thinks the election of Donald Trump, who threatened at the United Nations to exterminate 25 million North Koreans, represents a change “from a culture of Death into a culture of Life!” Praise Jesus and pass the syrup.

But maybe she can strike a little inclusive note for our pious legislators by reminding them that she’s a refugee:

On November 1988, Virginia was exiled as a political refugee to U.S. of America from communist Romania. In Romania, Virginia’s legal work defending human and religious rights cases was considered a “dissident activity”by the communist regime of N. Ceausescu. Soon after arriving to U.S. of America, in November 1988, Virginia Prodan went back to Law School, received both her Master of Laws and Juris Doctor degrees from Southern Methodist University – S. M. U., Dedman Law School. She graduated in the top of her class in both degrees [Virginia Prodan, professional website, retrieved 2018.01.18].

Boy, we let refugees in, and the next thing you know, they infiltrate our political structure and start lobbying for government to force everyone to follow their religion… and make us pay $20 for breakfast and a book sales pitch.

Update 2018.01.21 14:19 MDT: Prodan also got to speak to middle- and high-school students across the river in Fort Pierre on Friday:

Virginia Prodan speaks to Stanley County School District students, from district FB page, 2018.01.19.
Virginia Prodan speaks to Stanley County School District students, from district FB page, 2018.01.19.

Prodan apparently spent the whole weekend in Pierre; she just posted on her Facebook page that she’s preparing to depart after meeting Kitty Werthmann, a fellow “God soldier for freedom!” Prodan also visited inmates at the women’s prison in Pierrespoke at a dinner event Friday evening, and spoke at a Saturday afternoon event attended by the mayors of Pierre and Fort Pierre.

30 Comments

  1. Mrs. Nelson 2018-01-18

    I love seeing our government making atheists and non-christians feel so surrounded by thoughtful, inclusive events.

  2. mike from iowa 2018-01-18

    Dedman Law School? How prophetic in Ceausescu’s case.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2018-01-18

    Just another refugee that took a good lawyering job away from a real American, Sad.

  4. Ryan 2018-01-18

    From the website: “The Prayer Breakfast is an interdenominational event centered on Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and is intended to promote His glory.”

    How is this not a violation of the first amendment?

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-18

    Ryan, they’re not doing it on government time, in a government building, or with government money, so no First Amendment violation there. Can one argue that putting the title of an elected official on the event constitutes an “Establishment” of religion?

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-18

    Mrs. Nelson, events like this expose the real motives of our Christian dominionists. They aren’t afraid of refugees imposing Sharia law; they are thrilled to have refugees like Prodan help them promote their own form of Sharia. They just don’t want their Sharia being replaced by someone else’s.

  7. Ryan 2018-01-18

    I think the fact that this is advertised as the “South Dakota Governor’s Breakfast Prayer” implies that this is an event hosted by the Governor of South Dakota, thereby suggesting this is state action, which implicates the first amendment. This is not advertised as “Dennis and Friends Exercise Their Own Religious Beliefs Privately.” This should bother lots of people.

    I don’t think the issue of the use or non-use of government time, government money, or other government resources is the test. I admit the test appears to be a moving target, and these may be considerations, but if those issues alone were the test, religious fools with money could put on these silly events using their own money and have government officials “host” the silly events, using their government titles and their government persuasion, without any way for people who actually believe in freedom of religion to petition the government for redress.

    I get that this is South Dakota, and white folks who believe that angels are totally real are given quite a bit of deference in comparison to all other people, but it is just sort of crappy that our government would be this obvious. Shame on Dennis and everyone involved. Go pray at church you pushy nutcases.

  8. Kurt Evans 2018-01-18

    Cory writes:

    [Virginia Prodan] lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based fundagelical smokescreen group …

    The Alliance Defending Freedom has done some great work to prevent the National Park Service from arbitrarily discriminating against scientific research conducted by Christians.

    Creationist geologist wins permit to collect rocks in Grand Canyon after lawsuit:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/update-creationist-geologist-wins-permit-collect-rocks-grand-canyon-after-lawsuit

    Scientist finally gets permit to study Grand Canyon after being denied for his beliefs:
    http://adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2017/06/28/scientist-finally-gets-permit-to-study-grand-canyon-after-being-denied-for-his-beliefs

  9. bearcreekbat 2018-01-18

    Ah, the good old establishment clause – according to a Cornell Law School posting:

    This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause

    Intellectually, this “preference” prohibition seems to cover Government official behavior, as well as spending or using public property. A reasonable argument could be made that by permitting or encouraging advertisements that this is the “Governor’s” prayer breakfast, our Governor has publicly shown a state sanctioned preference for a particular religion and for religion itself.

  10. mike from iowa 2018-01-18

    Creationists have rocks in their heads. Dumbass dubya wanted his park service employees not to talk about how the Grand Canyon was formed so evan-gomers could infer it was created by Noah and his flood.

  11. Kurt Evans 2018-01-18

    Creationists have rocks in their heads. ******* dubya wanted his park service employees not to talk about how the Grand Canyon was formed so evan-gomers could infer it was created by Noah and his flood.

    Young-earth creationists generally believe the Grand Canyon was formed after the flood when standing water breached the plateau and rushed off the North American continent. Have you ever seen pictures of the way the rock layers fold back on each other along the Colorado River? I’ve never heard a non-Christian explain how that could have happened after the rock hardened without breaking it.

  12. mike from iowa 2018-01-18

    Dr Snelling has some ‘splaining to do- http://chem.tufts.edu/science/Stear-NoAiG/no-AiG/snelling.htm

    But it IS surprising! It’s surprising that a geologist who obtained his qualifications writing about billion year old rocks and later accepting ” … work in the exploration and mining industries in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory variously as a field, mine and research geologist.”, continues to tout his qualifications and prostitute his learning in order to convince the gullible that mainstream geology is wrong and only geology as practised by Andrew Snelling B.Sc.(Hons), Ph.D is valid.

  13. Kurt Evans 2018-01-18

    … only geology as practised by Andrew Snelling B.Sc.(Hons), Ph.D is valid.

    Anti-Christians generally devote more effort to ad hominem attacks on creationist scientists than to discussing the actual science. Dr. Snelling recognizes that the work of other geologists is valid.

  14. mike from iowa 2018-01-18

    Even had the Grand Canyon been created by water flow, it would have taking more than a few million centuries to accomplish.

  15. Kurt Evans 2018-01-18

    Even had the Grand Canyon been created by water flow, it would have taking more than a few million centuries to accomplish.

    Assuming it took “more than a few million centuries” for the Colorado River to carve out the Grand Canyon, do you have a theory about what inspired the river to start flowing uphill over the top of the plateau in the first place?

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-18

    Creationism is not science. The Alliance Defending Freedom is defending neither science nor freedom. They are defending only the Christian theocratic assumption that their religion deserves special privileges in America.

  17. grudznick 2018-01-18

    Actually, most people #4Science like geologists and their ilk believe that the Grand Canyon was formed over a dozen or so million years. Not millions of centuries. You’re welcome.

  18. Ryan 2018-01-18

    I think the grand canyon was formed by the shockwave created when mankind’s fear, ego, and gullibility came crashing together to form organized religion, but that isn’t the point. The point is our governor’s office is telling South Dakotans that Jesus Christ is their savior.

  19. jerry 2018-01-18

    First thing that comes to my mind about water flowing is gravity, but that is me. I have thought of gravity a couple of times in my life and that was always when I was falling off something. I think that the Grand Canyon was formed by two things, water and gravity. There, will that be on the final test?

  20. grudznick 2018-01-18

    Mr. Ryan, I have heard the theory that the big canyon was formed by the shockwave of the fleet of Xenu spaceships that dumped people in the volcanoes and such.

  21. Kurt Evans 2018-01-18

    Cory writes:

    The Alliance Defending Freedom is defending neither science nor freedom. They are defending only the Christian theocratic assumption that their religion deserves special privileges in America.

    Dr. Snelling was asking for fewer privileges than those routinely given to non-Christian geologists.

    “Grudznick” writes:

    Actually, most people #4Science like geologists and their ilk believe that the Grand Canyon was formed over a dozen or so million years. Not millions of centuries.

    For the record, I was granting “mike from iowa” his own stated assumptions, which from my perspective are only slightly less reasonable than the speculations of mainstream old-earthers.

  22. grudznick 2018-01-18

    Mr. Evans writes:

    For the record, I was granting “mike from iowa” his own stated assumptions, which from my perspective are only slightly less reasonable than the speculations of mainstream old-earthers.

    I sure hope he was not calling me a mainstream old-earther. I mean, I’m old, I’m mainstream, and I am an earther. But, that combination of words all together seems a little like something used to refer to an overgodder.

  23. John 2018-01-18

    Someone should sue to stop it until they clean up their act.

  24. mike from iowa 2018-01-18

    do you have a theory about what inspired the river to start flowing uphill over the top of the plateau in the first place?

    The Red River in Dakota flows uphill. It happens. There is undoubtedly a simple scientific explanation for that that probably doesn’t include an imaginary dude or dudette twitching his or her nose.

    You and Grudz are allowed your own beliefs, yet.

  25. Darin Larson 2018-01-18

    Wow, how does one go from defending human rights and religious freedoms in their native country to supporting discrimination, the denial of human rights, and the imposition of their own religious beliefs on others in the US? Without self-reflection and a sense of overriding compassion, how easily the oppressed becomes the oppressor.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-19

    Kurt, ADF advocated for Snelling not to defend freedom in general but to promote Christian anti-science. Has ADF ever taken a case for Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, or other non-Christians suffering perceived religious discrimination?

    Darin, Prodan behaves consistently just like ADF in that she is not fighting for human rights and religious freedoms in general; she just wants want she wants.

  27. Mohamed A Sharif 2018-01-19

    this breakfast is everything they say but inclusive.

  28. Ryan 2018-01-19

    Oh, it’s absolutely inclusive! People from all walks of life and people from all religions can come together and be told exactly how their beliefs are wrong if those beliefs don’t include jesus christ as the savior of the world.

    When those government buildings were told that putting up the ten commandments violated the first amendment, I’m surprised they didn’t try south dakota’s version of inclusion: people of all religious or non-religious belief systems are welcome to read and be inspired by the ten commandments, so there should be no problem!

  29. JonD 2018-01-19

    Does anyone else see Aunt Lydia from “The Handmaid’s Tale” in that photo of Virginia Prodan?

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-21

    As I note in an update above, Prodan made a full weekend of it in Pierre. According to her Facebook page, Prodan arrived Thursday and held a book signing and a special meeting with the Governor. After the Friday breakfast, she visited the women’s prison, spoke to students in Ft. Pierre, and did a dinner event. Saturday she appears to have held a book event attended by the mayors of Pierre and Ft. Pierre. She’s leaving today.

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