In the recent Supreme Court decision, Town of Greece v. Galloway, the five conservative Catholic justices ruled that local legislative meetings can begin with sectarian prayers.
In their decision they said, “The principal audience for these invocations is not the public, but the lawmakers themselves. And those lawmakers did not direct the public to participate, single out dissidents for opprobrium, or indicate that their decisions might be influenced by a person’s acquiescence in the prayer opportunity.”
In the real world far from where they live we have real situations.
If you recently had business before the Carroll County Commissioners you would first have to hear from Robin Frazier, a commissioner, the following prayer: “Oh Lord our God, most mighty and merciful Father, I, thine unworthy creature and servant, do once more approach thy presence. Though not worthy to appear before thee because of my natural corruptions and the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against thy divine majesty; yet I beseech thee, for the sake of him in whom thou art well pleased, the Lord Jesus Christ, to admit me to render thee deserved thanks and praises for thy manifold mercies extended towards me, for the quiet rest and repose of the past night, for food, raiment, health, peace, liberty, and the hopes of a better life through the merits of thy dear son’s bitter passion. And O kind father, continue thy mercy and favor to me this day, and ever hereafter. Purpose all my lawful undertakings, let me have all my directions from the holy spirit and success from thy bountiful land. Let the bright beams of thy light so shine into my heart, and enlighten my mind in understanding thy blessed word, that I may be enabled to perform thy will in all things, and effectively resist all temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Preserve and defend our rulers in church and state, bless the people of this land, be a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the comfortless, a deliverer to the captives, and a physician to the sick. Let thy blessings guide the day and forever through Jesus Christ whose blessed form of prayer I conclude my weak petitions. Our Father.”
Your opponent said in response a loud “AMEN” and, if Robin made a sign of the cross, he did likewise. The ball’s in your court.
Conform contrary to your beliefs or stand your ground as a citizen at a public meeting and refuse to bow your head or make the sign of the cross or say a loud “AMEN” and wonder later if you lost your petition on religious grounds.
Is this what we have come to in this diverse nation of ours? Put the shoe on the other foot. An atheist opens a public meeting with the following lines borrowed heavily from John Lennon: “Come on people, imagine there is no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all of us people just living for today. Let me hear a loud “Yahoo.”
As a person of faith I don’t believe corporations are people; I don’t believe money equals free speech and I don’t like five conservative justices shoving their religious views down my throat.
William Tunney Bel Air