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Save A Prayer (With Apologies to Duran Duran)

June 28, 2014 - Joselyn King
I cover many public meetings as a reporter. Sometimes the entity involved starts with a short prayer or a moment of silence -- in most cases they don't.

Most always they start with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Belmont County Board of Elections in years past began their meetings with only a prayer -- and after I asked why there was no pledge, that too became part of their opening repertoire.

Congress, the West Virginia Legislature and even Wheeling City Council always start each session with a prayer.

At Ohio County commission meetings, typically I'm the only member of the public present. "Let's just dispense of the formalities ....," commissioners say before beginning business.

The bottom line is everybody in America has a right to pray before a meeting. If any elected official -- or anyone else for that matter -- ever attempted to stop them, they would probably be skewered on site.

So why does prayer before a public meeting have to be "sanctioned" when the right already exists in America? It doesn't, and government bodies have a right to balk on the issue.

Someone wishing to pray for a noble and truly noble purpose will just pray if they wish to do so. The government body in question may be "in need of a prayer," and thankful for the gesture.

The truly faithful will just pray and not seek permission or wait for a government body to take the lead.

So why would someone from the public push a government entity to sanction prayer before a meeting? Probably for a political reason, or just for the attention such remarks might bring.

And that's just wrong in both a political and religious sense. Mixing religion and government is a dangerous thing.

Just imagine someone from the public entering a local Cathedral on a Sunday morning, taking seat, then standing up during the sermon to demand of the priest why the church doesn't ordain women?


Article Comments



Jul-02-14 11:51 AM

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "J--- C----- ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of J--- C-----, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the J-w and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination. -Thomas Jefferson,


Jul-01-14 9:47 AM

highland at least, apparently, understands that the Constitution forbids government sponsorship of, and any intimidation toward, religious exercise by US citizens within its 100% secular, and to the point, 6 pages.


Jul-01-14 8:24 AM

The Constitution does not call for "separation of church and state," contrary to RockEE's misinformed comment. It requires that the government not establish a state religion and that it not prevent individuals from participating in their own religions. The Supreme Court, of course, has misinterpreted the First Amendment to the point that the gullible and witless, e.g., RockEE, believe there is some wall of separation.


Jul-01-14 6:55 AM

Summing then:

While the "Right" hears some calling entitling them to force and enforce their concept of creation, evolution, righteousness, the afterlife has been and always will be sound, scientific logic which has served best for the betterment of mankind.


Jun-30-14 6:26 AM

It would appear that the Founding Fathers'

"separation of church and state"

is interpreted by the Supreme Court's rightwing contingent to mean

"our preferred harbingers of our preferred ideology can start their government deliberations with their preferred prayers which declare there complete lack of reasoning ability" amen


Jun-29-14 10:30 PM



Jun-29-14 2:09 PM

In last month's Supreme Court opinion on the matter Justice Elena Kagan wrote:

"When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines."


Jun-28-14 2:52 PM

Excellent job Joselyn! I agree, if they had kept God and prayer available in the schools, (and I'm sure someone will attempt to say, they can do it if they want it just can't be initiated by the school), we would be a heck of a lot better off.


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