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Comments about ‘Supreme Court case to shed light on religion in the public sphere’

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Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6 2013 4:00 a.m. MST

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From Ted's Head
Orem, UT

Why not just have a minute of silence at the beginning of such municipal meetings, during which time people could pray or not to the God of their own choosing? With all of the issues that the LDS Church faces today, this would seem to be a lesser battle as it is really about tradition and not religious liberty. I can understand BYU wanting to open its meetings with prayer, yet I was offended when a local LDS business owner wanted to open his staff meetings with prayer, even assigning the duty to one of us staff members. There is a time and a place for religious expression and just because tradition has allowed the Christian (or Mormon, depending on where you live) majority to publicly mold God in their own image doesn't mean they should be able to continue to do so. Yet I recognize that to some their faith is based mostly on traditional rites and practices and it would seem a violation of their beliefs to have to break tradition to respect the beliefs of others in their communities. With greater agency come greater accountability. Accept that being truly free means allowing others the same right.

Ranch
Here, UT

If you have to have a prayer before a public meeting starts, are you really doing the state's business or are you acting as a church? Keep your gods to yourselves.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I've never understood the need for the religious to say prayers in public situations like this. For believers, isn't prayer heard if it is said silently? Didn't Jesus command that believers should lock themselves in their closet and offer their sincere prayers, without making a public spectacle of their piety? It seems to me that the intent of a prayer before a public meeting is to endorse religion generally, and usually it is to endorse Christianity. The intent is to make nonbelievers or non-Christians feel unwelcome and different. It is a divisive practice that serves no positive goal.

I've seen the same thing in Utah. Many years ago I went to a celebratory dinner at the University of Utah in which a number of faculty members were being honored. Among them was a Jewish recipient of the Distinguished Research Award. Before events began, we had to listen to a prayer to Heavenly Father. Frankly, I was appalled. The University was simultaneously honoring one of its most distinguished professors while at the same time telling him he was not approved of, that he was not one of us.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

From Mathew 6:

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."

"Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you [nor have your name inscribed on the marble columns of the great, spacious buildings], as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others."

"But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret."

"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners [and in the public meetings], that they may be seen by others."

Has it ever occurred to believers to actually follow your own doctrines?

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Geez, if I was picking who got to say prayers for this town, I would list which religions were there and rotate them. I would like to hear a prayer from another denomination. Basically it is there way of saying, "There are not very many of you here, but you are welcome. Show us how you pray please.

onejn416
Anchorage, AK

It is spiritual warfare. Read the Declaration of Independence. Read the Mayflower Charter. Read the Plymouth Charter then consider:
1 John 2:17-18 “17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”
1 John 2:22 “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who
denies the Father and the Son.”
1 John 4:3 “and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
If you don't know you are at war, the enemy wins without firing a single shot. Unfortunately as smart as the enemy is, most antichrist do not even know that they are antichrist or even what it means.

PookyBear84010
KAYSVILLE, UT

Gee whiz, the agnostic cranks are out in full force. This case isn't about whether or not religious people SHOULD pray before public meetings--it's whether or not they CAN as allowed by law. As far as I can tell, freedom of religion doesn't necessitate forcing all religious practices or references out of the public sphere. There's no reason why the city can't make it more fair by using non-denominational prayers or rotating through different types of prayers. I wish people could just be nice to each other for a change and not always be making others "offender[s] for a word" (Isaiah 29:21).

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

From Matthew 5:

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Sounds like it has "occurred" to us believers "to actually follow our own doctrines."

dwayne
Provo, UT

The idea prayer shouldn't be allowed in legislative meetings is offensive to legislative rights.

While the crazies who want to pray in public meetings like the Pharisees they are it is not the role of courts to define how legislative meetings are conducted when it's not infringing on the rights of others. In a free democratic republic it's a meeting itself and its officers that does this. This is the concept of an assembly which is what the municipal and state legislatures are. Assemblies of the people and as such they have great latitude in procedure and while it may make someone uncomfortable that doesn't change the right of the assembly to pray in that meeting nor does the person regardless of how offended have the right to dictate that the majority or a minority does not have the right to speak or pray.

Trying to get courts to prohibit prayer in legislative meetings is comparable to the religious crazies trying to prohibit people from expressing their opinion.

I say let crazies have their prayers.

That is what we call freedom.

When courts start dictating conduct of public assemblies we become a non-free society

dwayne
Provo, UT

Fred Vader,

There is a major difference between letting people see you for what you believe and another to be a crazy. While I will defend the right of legislative meetings to have prayers there really is no real reason for them other than for the narcissists to have a prayer. You highlight an example of what we all have to deal with. A belief that religious formality is a light to others. On the contrary it is humorous and funny to see buffoons pray in public meetings instead of getting to the business of the meeting.

We all have things to do and people's time is precious but legislative meetings often waste time on the formalities and pageantry so that nobodies can feel like somebodies. I see no reason why prayer shouldn't be allowed. Maybe we can put the Mayor in a gown and other vestments too and have them prance around like they are somebody special instead of just some random guy who is no better than or no worse than anyone else who could just as easily be President in 4 years while he is still Mayor.

forcecrate
Ft Worth, TX

I belong to a religion that does not have silent prayers or a concept of god. How are my rights as a citizen going to be protected? (Simple. Don't have prayer period. It is not the government's job to pray. Heck, they have enough problems doing their job. They need to stay out of religion entirely.)

Ranch
Here, UT

@onejn416;

What makes you think "god's will" is that you pray in public meetings?

bandersen
Saint George, UT

(this is the 3rd time! Somebody at the Deseret News has got to be kidding me for not allowing what I wrote.) So, I will try once more, but every one is missing out, one and all. It is all in fun while making a point. Anyway, here we go! Why do I have listen to the athiests, who are otherwise quite arrogant about the certainty of no God, become so sensitive about wanting religion to be booted from the public square. They speak of 'weak' and 'clinging' people of faith, then want the bully pulpit of government to stop an expression of faith within that time honored tradition, whining and whimpering as they do so. This sounds like someone that is insecure. Are they so insecure that they can't live without demanding that the whole of government action from sea to shining sea recognize they exist by fiat, dictum, or decree, and written in stone and set in concrete footings in every household across the fruited plain! How about giving an over 200 year tradition its due?

forcecrate
Ft Worth, TX

bandersen, I don't care if you hire a brass band and parade the whole town every Saturday evening (if you can get a permit.) Just don't ask me (thru the government) to pay a single nickle for it. You do understand the difference I am getting at? It is only in your own small mind that any atheist is insecure. They only thing I get insecure about is when zealots try to wrest control of the government and do things that are clearly unconstitutional. Whatever you want to do privately neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg so I do not care. Have at it! I wouldn't ask you to pay to advance my religion so don't ask me for cash to further yours. Be responsible for yourself.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

To bandersen and all who express sentiments like "How about giving an over 200 year tradition its due", I have a few comments.

First, I agree that this is not a major issue. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. On the other hand, what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. This tradition is wrong. Almost as wrong as telling racist jokes at an interracial wedding.

At the very least, this is disrespectful to those who don't share the majority religious view. If I were in Iran, I wouldn't be surprised to have a meeting begin with an invocation of Allah's blessing. As an Islamic Republic, their government does not value religious liberty in the same way that we do. Many there may be quite comfortable with the idea of forcing their religion onto others. Personally, I think that is uncivilized.

No it is not the end of the world to have to listen to someone's prayer. But it does tell those who don't share that religious viewpoint that they are second class citizens. And I would like to think that America is more civilized than that.

Jazzsmack
Holladay, UT

@The Skeptical Chymist

Other than having to listen to prayer (eeeek! oh my gosh! eh gads! the world is ending! the government is collapsing! how can I ever go on!?)

how are you in any way a second class citizen?

we are getting a lot of hyperbole (and feigned offense) from the extreme left.

The founders had prayer (and they wrote the constitution!), public prayer is part of religion and religious worship, it in no way violates the first amendment.

To say everyone, and every state, every city and community must publically practice leftest grey IS against the constitution and against freedom and liberty.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

onejn416 wrote:

"It is spiritual warfare."

Little more needs to be said to understand why this militant attitude provokes animosity and defensiveness from nonbelievers.

End the war on non-belief and we can live in peace!

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