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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?
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