Comments about ‘Richard Davis: The Supreme Court errs on legislative prayers’

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Published: Wednesday, May 7 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

And then there is the matter of what's in the prayer. In conservative Utah the content of prayers is going to reflect LDS political conservatism. What if someone in attendance objects? If they express their objections they will be shunned. If they don't express their reservations they will have been cowed.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There is no "establishment clause" in the Constitution. "Congress shall make no law pertaining to an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" The 1st Amendment did not say "the establishment". It said "an establishment". Those two words make all the difference in the world. "An establishment" is a preexisting religion. It has already been established. It exists. Government cannot dictate religios doctrine.

Holding prayer is both free speech and the free exercise of our religious rights. If we have become so intolerant of thought that hearing someone pray offends us, then we have become religious bigots.

Here, UT

I can't believe the DN printed this piece, but I'm glad they did.

Mr. Davis got it right.

Everett, 00


Those reading this newspaper, and living in Utah, and probably have never lived anywhere else, and mostly likely are LDS will see this and cheer it as a "good" thing.


Having lived Outside of this imanginary bubble world,
This is a bad thing.

I've lived in the Bible belt - were "Mormons" are viewed as equal to Satan worshippers.

I've lived in areas that the majority was Spiritual, but not religous - were Mormons are viewed as intolerant puritians.

I've lived in Utah - were most NON-Mormons are constantly on guard and on the defense 24/7.

I've also served in the Military, which is the best reflected cross section of America.
Sometimes we banded together as brothers in arms in prayer - like a football huddle.

Baptists, Mormons, Jews, Quackers, Muslims, and Buddahists.

We talked of God, our common Father in Heaven - but were instructed to be very careful to never use the terms - Jesus, YHWH or JHVH, Allah, or Ganesha, Shiva, Krishna or Rama.

Like the Founding Fathers used the generic term - "Creator".

But some are pushing an agenda -- THAT I oppose.

Provo, ut

It may surprise you that some people have actual real and heart felt belief in a higher power and feel that acknowledging his/her existence and help might actually help in the governing process. Since your worldview is apparently so superior to those people maybe a little tolerance should be exercised.

Ogden, UT

@Mike Richards 1:24 a.m. May 7, 2014

Once again you show that you don't really understand the Constitution. The term "an establishment" also means "an act of establishing". In other words, either creating a religion or establishing that one religion has preference over another religion or over no religion. The government is not allowed to do either.

You're right that government cannot dictate religions doctrine; however, it can dictate what religions practices are legal (example -- the ban on the underage plural marriage promoted by Warren Jeffs and his group). Government in the United States is, as it should be, secular in nature. Trying to impose religion on it is not right, and should not be allowed.

clearfield, UT

Mr. Davis in the first paragraph makes it seem as if a "religious ritual" is like making people sit through a 2 hour Temple session. A prayer is only about 30 seconds and anyone can tolerate that if they are ADULT human beings who are NOT LOOKING to be OFFENDED. If all of our public activities are supposed to be Offense free, then we would need to take away the U.S. Flag, because a lot of people in the world see that as offensive too. There are times when the FEELINGS of the minority should just be ignored, because there is and always will be some person who wants to take offense at anything done in the public interest. No holidays, no National Anthem, no Pledge of Allegiance, no flags, no team mascots, no nothing that might offend someone. Where do we draw the line? I say way back at expecting people to be tolerant and adult and not acting offended at every little trifle they don't agree with. What's wrong with that?

Cleveland , OH

@happy2bhere: "A prayer is only about 30 seconds and anyone can tolerate that if they are ADULT human beings who are NOT LOOKING to be OFFENDED."

So I am assuming you would have to problem with a Muslim or a witch offering a prayer in a public meeting? You would defend both, and tell the adults in the room to deal with it?

clearfield, UT



2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I don't think the Supreme Court decision established a State Religion... it just didn't PROHIBIT prayer.


A moment of silence would be fine with me. It's about the same thing. A prayer to open the meeting is not intended to offend anybody. It is intended to give people a moment to reflect and get in the right frame of mind.

Whether a moment of silence, or someone actually offers a prayer... it's all the same to me. Because I always offer a little prayer in my own heart in these situations. So it doesn't offend me at all if the person praying isn't of my faith (or my party).

But the Government should absolutely NOT be in the business of PREVENTING PRAYER... anywhere... any time.... Any faith...


Everyone on the LEFT seems to assume that prayers are used to offend... where does that mind-set come from?

Is that what THEY would use an opportunity to pray for??


Prayer is not intended to offend anybody.

Maybe there are a few people who would abuse it. But do you take away EVERYBODY's right... because it may be abused .0001% of the time???

east of utah
Saint Joseph, MO

Nothing requires anybody to participate in the prayer. The ruling only allows it to happen. As a surgeon I have often been invited to participate in family prayers before I operate on a family member. The prayers/devotionals that were close to my own form of worship were comfortable, those that were not close were less so (and there have been some very unique ones). Nevertheless, I have been respectful of their beliefs and have participated in them. And we have all been the better for it.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Yesterday on this same topic you said, "Slavery itself was sanctioned by religion here (meaning Utah)"...

I hope that was a mis-speak.

From Joseph Smith (the beginning) till today... the church has NEVER endorsed SLAVERY.

For a time some didn't receive the priesthood... but that's not "Slavery". No LDS Prophet I know of has endorsed SLAVERY...


RE: "In Kansas they outlawed Sharia law, but Christian prayer is OK"...

There's a difference between wanting Sharia Law... and wanting to be free to pray if you want.

One is imposing your laws governing all areas of life on all people. The other is ALLOWING people the Constitutionally protected freedom to pray if they want!

The government doesn't give us the right to pray... They can only take it away.

Why are you so intent on taking it away??


Has a prayer in a meeting started a single war? No... That's just pretense.

Intolerance HAS caused wars... but prohibiting prayer in meetings doesn't end that! You would have to outlaw religion altogether.

Do you intend to do THAT eventually?

Because that is what it would take (not just outlawing prayer in public meetings).

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Why are people afraid to ask God for help? My understanding of God, as a child, is much different than my understanding of God as an adult. Should I have waited until I was twenty to pray. How about waiting until I was sixty? At what point would my prayer not offend someone who didn't believe in God?

We are the UNITED States. How do we become UNITED? When politicians try to divide us by teaching envy and strife and greed, how can the people offset that disharmony? I think that praying before meetings invites into that meeting a spirit or sense of harmony. When we ask Him who lives in complete harmony with all things, seen and unseen, to assist us, He will help. But, He, who gave us agency, will not enter unless invited, leaving us in our UN-UNITED state for as long as we wish, even if it destroys us.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Why would anyone object if a prayer is offered, and it reflects some beliefs of the community's predominate religion, or conservative politics???

All you need is a little tolerance... and you will get through it with no damage.


Not all my family is LDS. When we go to their house for dinner... I don't get offended because their prayer on the food may be different than I may give! That's just absurd! WHY would it offend me?


Just because someone attends and decides to object to the fact that the local culture is reflected in the prayer... should that one person who decides to be offended be able to restrict the majority in the room from being able to pray?

I don't think so.

They should just take this moment to have their own prayer in their heart... and move on...

That would be the "Tollerant" thing to do.

Not insist that because one person decides to be offended NOBODY can pray....


I am never offended when someone of another faith offers a prayer (and it happens frequently)... why the Left is so offended... I'll NEVER understand.

Steve C. Warren

Richard Davis is absolutely right, and the five-justice majority was absolutely wrong.

When a government entity places prayer on the official agenda, that is an establishment of religion. When a person is invited to present the "opening exercise" and chooses to pray, that is simply free speech and is not an establishment of religion.

As a Christian of the LDS persuasion, I have long been disappointed that in these debates over public prayer, crosses on public property, Ten Commandments monuments, Sunday closings, etc., the primary instigators of divisiveness seem to be those who call themselves Christians.

By the way, in terms of the Constitution being "divinely inspired," I believe the most inspired part of the Constitution may be the provision to amend it, which allows us to correct the parts that were not divinely inspired.

Eagle Mountain, UT

I will believe this is a religious liberty issue, and not a "We are the Christian Majority issue" when SmallTown, USA allows a muslim to open a meeting with a prayer.

I would be willing to bet that if a muslim asked to give the prayer in the town of Athens, it would be denied.

This is a case of people wanting to wear their religion on their sleeves and not in their hearts. Something they can do in public to make them feel good about themselves.

Remember the uproar a few years ago when a prayer was offered on the 4th of July celebration in Spanish? That was just a few years ago and in our very own State.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . perhaps it is possible to honor God and the Constitution at the same time."

Of course it is. But we'll have to just stop listening to iconoclastic, thumb-in-the-eye atheists, as well as liberal politicians and academics in the professional victimization industry, to make it happen.

The Constitution protects us from an overreaching, unaccountable government establishing a state religion, as in England, Sweden, or Iran. It also protects us from the establishment of a Christian-hating secular church, along the lines of the one liberals and atheists constantly insist we must establish, in order to please them.

The Constitution does not require us to tiptoe around atheists and academics, for fear that something so integrated into our lives and society might give offense to someone desperately seeking it.

While academics bloviate over the issue and atheists and disingenuous "Wiccans" sit and spin, real people will continue to tolerate and respect the sincere religious beliefs of others, trying our best to get along, in spite of academic and political advice to feel grossly victimized and lash out.

Centerville, UT

Making up ideas that don't exist to perpetuate a concept that is not reality. "I would be willing to bet that if a Muslim asked to give the prayer in the town of Athens, it would be denied."

The real facts are they did seek other faiths to participate. When the two who brought the suite were asked to identify any other faiths in the community that they could ask to participate they could not identify one.

Kearns, UT

I disagree with Mr. Davis. Governments don't have to have prayers before meetings. It is not a requirement. Those that choose to are not establishing any religion or any religious preference. If they ask someone to give a prayer, then fine. I've been in the Senate and heard the Senate chaplain give his obviously Christian prayer. This happens every day at the opening on Senate business. Sometimes others are invited to give the prayer. No one has really crabbed about that and it is the same thing as what happens on the local level. Give it a rest. Those that want to play the victim will always do so. My advise? Ignore them.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Meanwhile -- on the other side of the world,
Americans are fighting and dying to keep Praying OUT of the Government!

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