Astronauts reading the Bible on the moon

In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, Jim Lovell, William Anders, and Frank Borman, became the first humans to orbit the moon. The crew participated in a Christmas Eve television broadcast — the most watched broadcast in history up to that point — during which they each took turns reading from the Old Testament Book of Genesis as the lunar sunrise came into view…

Madalyn Murray O’Hair [later] filed a lawsuit, O’Hair v. Paine, with the U.S. Supreme Court over the reading from Genesis by the astronauts. O’Hair contended that since the astronauts were U.S. government employees, they should not pray or perform religious rituals while on the job in outer space. The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the case because of lack of jurisdiction.

My two cents

Apollo8 Prime Crew
Apollo8 Prime Crew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hadn’t thought of reading Scripture on the moon, but after learning of this event, how gratifying it is to have the glory of God project itself unfettered throughout the universe—with the U.S. Supreme Court stepping back in deference. I heard that the practice of Scripture readings (in space) were later discouraged by NASA, but if the courts have no jurisdiction, no law is broken and I’d love to do such readings if I were an astronaut.

Quote source

Stoddard, A.L. (2010). NASA Astronauts Religion in Space Controversies. Available: http://aimee-larsen-stoddard.suite101.com/nasa-astronauts-religion-in-space-controversies-a206289. Last accessed 24th Apr 2012.

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