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George F. Will: Thin skins and prayer

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  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    May 12, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    Many have stated that the problem is not with prayer, but with exclusively Christian prayer, at the town council meetings. However, readers of Will's article will find that non-Christian prayers have been offered at the council meetings, and there is no evidence the council has ever forbidden non-Christian prayers. The town is overwhelmingly Christian, and unsurprisingly, the local citizens who are interested enough to seek the opportunity of offering an invocation are likewise overwhelmingly Christian. As long as those citizens are being granted the opportunity they seek, and the council is not turning anyone away on the basis of religious belief or denomination, where's the problem?

    Why do some people presume they have a right not to be exposed to the beliefs of others? How is one citizen harmed by being present while another citizen expresses himself in prayer?

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    May 12, 2014 11:52 a.m.

    Unfortunately "live and let live" doesn't seem to be an option. The same peopel who argue "what I do doesn't hurt you" do everything they can to make us support what they support and not perform in what they don't like.

    There is, in fact, a malicious spiritual force on the earth; we don't live in a moral vaccuum. We can't see it, but its effects are as clear as gravity and sunlight.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 9, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    We live in a country where we have a Constitution, a Supreme Law of the Land. We are bound by the Constitution, no matter what a "majority" of the citizens think at any particular time. If the citizens want yo change the Constitution, they MUST use the process defined in the Constitution. At the current time, we have the right to speak and government is forbidden to interfere with either religion or our right to speak. The Court upheld the Constitution, as written, no matter what the "majority" might think.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 9, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Oh and Redshirt:

    "Again, you are wanting to establish Atheism as a state religion. The only way to maintain a true freedom of religion is to allow all religions, from Wiccans, to Christians, to Jews, to Muslims, to Atheists to offer an invocation at the beginning of the meeting"

    That better not be the only way, there are over 1,200 religions practiced in the United States alone. If what you say is the only way, every meeting will start with a year of prayer.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 9, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    No Red I'm not. You need those who believe in a strong separation to think that way so you can feel persecuted and act the martyr. But that isn't even close to the actual legal argument. You're not within 1,000 miles of reality. Not on the definition of atheism, not on the goals of church/state separation, not on what a secular government is, not on any of it. I don't expect you to agree with any of this though.

    I actually enjoy debating the topic of separation with people who can take the discussion seriously and not resort to frankly pathetic fabrications such as "atheism is a religion" and that we are after "atheism as a state religion". You can continue to use them if you want Red, but again it just shows that you are incapable of having a rational, reasonable discussion about this subject.

    Your side doesn't need to resort to these silly things either. You have several perfectly good legal arguments you can use to support your ideas, that's what I find most humorous. You use these things that make you look silly and ignore the real points you could make.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    May 9, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    @Jack

    My assumptions are based on what has happened in the past and what has already stared since the ruling. The County Board of Directors in Roanoke County, VA has already started looking at repealing their non-sectarian prayer policy in order to play favorites to Christian prayer. When Supervisor Al Bedros was asked about allowing non-Christian prayer he stated he probably would not--Roanoke Times, May 5. In 2007 a Hindu Cleric was invited to provide the opening invocation in the US Senate. Christian groups launched a writing campaign to stop it and "Christian" protesters trying to stop the invocation had to be physically removed from the chambers. When the 1st Muslim elected to congress chose to take his oath on the Q'uarn a letter right campaign ensued demanding congress pass a law requiring the Christian bible as the only text on which elected representatives could receive their oath. Yeah, I may assume, but I have history on my side. Bottom line, the court screwed up when they said secular state institutions can begin doing the peoples business with a prayer and "Christian" prayer can be favored at the exclusion of others.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    May 9, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    To "The Wraith" you need to back up one more step. You first need to define religion.

    According to the dictionary a religion is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects". So, atheism by definition is a religion. Even the Federal Government recognizes atheism as a religion.

    You don't have the establishment clause right either. A state religion does not make private worship in an alternate religion illegal. A state religion simply means that the Government adheres to the beliefs of a single religion.

    Again, you are wanting to establish Atheism as a state religion. The only way to maintain a true freedom of religion is to allow all religions, from Wiccans, to Christians, to Jews, to Muslims, to Atheists to offer an invocation at the beginning of the meeting.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 9, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    RedShirt that response was not only completely predictable but completely wrong.

    Let's start with a simple definition. atheism is a rejection of belief in any god whereas religion is defined as a set of beliefs centered on a god or gods. Therefore atheism cannot be a religion. Oh I know, people like to say that it is because they think it's clever but, all it really shows is that the person doesn't understand English. In future you should say "establishing atheism as a state policy" when tossing out this canard.

    Second, in order to establish atheism as a state policy I would have to be in favor of passing laws making any kind of religious worship illegal, not just in the public square but in the private one as well. Such a state policy would demand that all churches close and all holy books be destroyed. I am very much opposed to such laws.

    Being in favor of a strong separation of church and state is NOTHING like that - and equating the two positions simply shows me that you are incapable of having a rational and reasonable discussion about church/state separation.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    May 9, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    To "The Wraith" let me get this right. You are not trying to destroy religion, but you are establishing Atheism or Secular Humanism up as a state religion.

    I don't know about you, but I am quite sure that setting up Atheism or Secular Humanism as a state religion is against the Constitution.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:26 a.m.

    I find articles like this funny and the comments by people here hilarious. So many of you buy into the line that the people pushing to ban prayer in government meeting are "offended" or want to "destroy religion" or whatever. Perhaps this is true for a handful of people but as one of these atheists who supports a strict wall of separation I am none of those things. Not only that I've never met anyone who even remotely fits this profile you've all dreamed up in your heads.

    We aren't trying to destroy your religion, or make it illegal for you to be religious. We are a group of people who simply want the government to worry about governing and religion to worry about religious matters and never the twain shall meet. In fact, I support your right to worship and exercise your religion I just believe in a strong separation of church and state.

    Of course we can have debate and discussion over the separation idea but that's very different than accusing us of trying to destroy the world simply because we hold a differing opinion on a legal matter.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    May 9, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    "Taking offense has become America's national pastime", and thin skinned. Yes! All you have to do is read some of the comments on here, or flip on the news.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    May 9, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    The danger to America here is that those offering the prayers actually believe the prayers mean something more than the traditional seating arrangement of the counsel members.

    It's the belief that "God said" that puts life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at risk.

    It's the belief that "God given rights" is anything more than an understandable metaphor for inalienable human rights that is a danger to democracy.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    May 8, 2014 9:51 p.m.

    @my 2 Cents,
    There you go again, assuming. Had you read the article, you would have seen that different religions other than Christian had offered prayers, and the world didn't end. The whole case was about some non-religious folks getting offended over prayer from any source. The Christians didn't complain, the atheists did. You seem to be projecting your feelings onto others and then claiming they are theirs. Bottom line, the court ruled correctly that government cannot restrict a person from prayer. That prayer can be of many different flavors, not just Christian. This wasn't about a "correct" religion, it was about "any" religion.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    May 8, 2014 6:06 p.m.

    @Mike Richards said A PUBLIC meeting cannot restrict speech

    Exactly! And that includes speech the majority might not like; non-Christian prayers that might rankle the Christian; and, allowing a secularist, Muslim, or Hindu Cleric the opportunity to offer the invocation. Sadly, though, history shows that free speech when it comes to prayer in the public square is general free only to those of the "correct" religion.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 8, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    re: cavetroll,

    You do understand the difference between public government functions and private business activities don't you? Do you want the government to enter your home (private) and tell you how to raise your family? Neither do I; but, when I drive on a public street, I have no objection to the government erecting a speed limit to protect me from others and to protect them from me.

    A PUBLIC meeting cannot restrict speech, according to YOUR Constitution. A public meeting cannot legislate restrictions on religion or religious activities, including prayer, according to YOUR Constitution. The Supreme Court upheld YOUR Constitution.

    A PRIVATE business can limit speech. A PRIVATE business can mandate or reject prayer. A PRIVATE business can refuse service (i.e. No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service). Those signs are posted everywhere in America. I've seen those sanctions in action. Unlike those who DEMAND that a private business serve them, most of us understand that private property and private businesses are PRIVATE and that a business owner has no obligation whatsoever to offer service if he chooses otherwise.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 8, 2014 4:49 p.m.

    I agree!

    I'm so tired of the right getting offended over everything!

    Anyone else remember when Christians wanted to build a rec center near 9/11 and Muslims freaked out? Remember that? Remember how Muslims complained to Obama and criticized him for not standing up to those christians? Remember how am radio screamed at those Muslims for not allowing religious freedom for those Christians to build their rec center?

    Talk about thin skin! It's just a rec center! Why did those Muslims freak out over a Christian rec center?

    Ohhh wait....

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 8, 2014 4:33 p.m.

    I oppose legislative prayer for the reason articulated in the majority opinion - it is *ceremonial*. In other words, in the very words the High Court used to sustain the practice, it has shorn it of any deep, sincere religious meaning. In my view, such "ceremonial" prayer has all the trappings of a modern Rameumpton.

    I want to remove legislative prayer precisely because I am religious and want to protect my religion. Rendering prayer "ceremonial" does more to harm religion in the long run than it does to strengthen it.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    May 8, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    I remember a certain group of folks who didn't want those muslims building a mosque for praying a few blocks from ground zero. Who was that again?

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    May 8, 2014 4:28 p.m.

    Yes, we certainly are a nation taking offense at every opportunity.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 8, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    Why can't they just have a prayer 5 or 10 BEFORE the official meeting, and not necessarily being a part of it?

    We even do that in preparation for LDS Sacrament Meetings for crying out loud.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    May 8, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards

    "When does discrimination end?"
    I couldn't agree with you more. Where does discrimination end? Does it end where a person refuses business with another because they don't approve of a certain lifestyle? Or does it end somewhere else? One person's beliefs are another person's discrimination.

    "How can anyone who claims to be an America discriminate against someone because he prays or because he prays differently than you do?" Or because he doesn't pray? Ask Judge Roy Moore in Alabama how he feels about non Christians and their prayers. I do agree with that question, though. How can one claim to be American and discriminate against others?

    "Is that what America has become, a land where offense is taken because he doesn't believe exactly as you believe?" Unfortunately and very sadly, yes, this is what America has become. And it's not just liberals or the younger generations.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 8, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    IF your skin's really that thin... don't go to city council meetings.

    There's a lot more contentious things going on at these meetings than who gets to say the prayer...

    If you can't handle the prayer... you're REALLY going to have a hard time with the rest of the meeting...

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 8, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    my_two_cents_worth,
    Has ANYBODY... ANYWHERE... said it had to be a "Christian" prayer????

    Did the court say that? No...

    Did a single post suggest that? No...

    You guys are getting all upset over this assumption... one that from everything I know is a FALSE assumption, based on a strawman argument.

    Lets try it... and see if it's required to be a Christian Prayer or not...

    I know we've had Muslims and people of other faiths offer the prayer before... why would it be a problem now???

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 8, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    When does discrimination end? How can anyone who claims to be an America discriminate against someone because he prays or because he prays differently than you do? Is that what America has become, a land where offense is taken because he doesn't believe exactly as you believe?

    Today, you claim the right to be shielded from public prayer. Tomorrow, what will you demand? Will you demand that anyone who dares to publicly speak about politics who doesn't promote YOUR brand of politics should be denied the right to speak? Is that what freedom of speech means to you?

    Since you want to censor speech, what are the rules? What speech do you censor? You've already told us that we can't address God in our public speech. What if we cite prayers offered by the Founding Fathers? Will they be censored? Will George Washington's prayer for guidance be censored? Will Jefferson's prayer for the nation be censored? Will Lincoln's prayer for peace be censored? Will FDR's prayer in dark times be censored? Will JFK's prayer of gratitude be censored? What about Reagan's prayer, Carter's prayer, Clinton's prayer?

  • Daniel L. Murray, UT
    May 8, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    It is very amusing to me that so many are quick to assume that religiously affiliated people would be offended by prayers not of their faith. While that may be the case for some, my experience has shown that not to be true. As an LDS Missionary I would invite the people who I visited with to offer a prayers, no matter what religion, or lack of religion they identified themselves with, being offended was never felt by me or my companion. And I heard many prayers that I would consider strange.
    I think contention on this issue may demonstrate a growing inability of people to listen to opinions and views different than their own.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    May 8, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    @Mike Richards

    "what makes people afraid of prayer?"

    It tends to favor the prevailing mythology at the exclusion of all others and is dismissive of those who find the whole ritual somewhat silly.

    "Why are they offended when someone uses...that right to speak to God?"

    We are not offended when someone exercises their individual protected speech rights. It's when the state, city, county, or other secular institutions wrongly assume individual religious rights apply to them and then promote one religion over all others in the exercise of that non-existent group "right."

    "Why do they want legislation that prohibits prayer"

    We don't. The freedom of religion is an individual right. My city council is not an individual and has no rights other than what we as members of the city have conferred upon it in doing the city's business. Praying is not the city's business. Promoting one flavor of religion over others even less so.

    "If prayer is forbidden in public,"

    It isn't. "Christians" in the US, however, seem to think it should be restricted to Christian only prayer. That's the real problem.

  • push-n-day-zees Salt Lake, UT
    May 8, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    Prayer or no, we should all practice being tolerant to everyone. Then, after a lot of practice, we will see that we have become more tolerant and have better and more meaningful encounters with others. I like meeting new people and I like getting to know them and what they're about. In the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 8, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    @egad1,
    Did the court decision say it had to be a "Christian Prayer"???

    You really need a thick skin to live in a free country.

    Because sooner or later there's going to be somebody who's different than you... somebody who wants to be religious (when you aren't). Or somebody who wants to NOT be religious (and you are). Or somebody who wants MORE liberty, and somebody who wants LESS liberty.

    You are going to need a thick skin to let that person be the way he wants to be... while you not worry about it and go on being the way YOU want to be.

    If you are not religious... and it's your goal in life to limit religious people... you're always going to be frustrated in a FREE society (because you can't control or limit them).

    Same goes for religious people who want to use the government to force somebody to be more religious.... it doesn't work in a free society. So you have to learn to tolerate others and allow people to be different....

    Just be patient and tolerant and it will be over in seconds...

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    May 8, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    I agree that some on the left are too easily offended. But oh my goodness, all I read on these comments day after day are conservatives offended by something. If someone says Cliven Bundy or what's his name Sterling spoke inappropriately, conservatives come out of the woodwork complaining about how some black guy somewhere said something nasty about a white person, blah, blah, blah. If someone says gay people should be able to marry, conservatives complain about how their religious freedom has been violated (Even though they are still completely free to practice their religion. The only thing they are not as free to do now is to make sure everyone else practices their religion.) A bigger bunch of complainers and "victims" I have never seen. I think it is a characteristic of people on the fringes politically. I just happen to see/hear a lot more on the right.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    May 8, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    What would the cities do if theists started to complain about how all local and state government meetings were started in an Atheist manner, without prayer. Why should the government adopt Atheisism as a state religion? Shouldn't Christians, Jews, wiccans, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other religions be offended that government meetings are opened with the abscence of a plea to deity?

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    May 8, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    "Taking offense has become America's national pastime; being theatrically offended supposedly signifies the exquisitely refined moral delicacy of people who feel entitled to pass through life without encountering ideas or practices that annoy them."

    That statement applies to both the right and left wings of our political spectrum these days. Both sides have gotten so absurd that they find offense in everything they experience, and attempt to sanitize their environments so that only what they believe is experienced.

    "America would be a more congenial place if it had more amiable atheists who say, as one such did, that "it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

    You could also change the word "atheists" to "Christians/Muslims/Jews,etc" in this quote. Who cares what your neighbor believes. Who cares if a council prays before a meeting? If you don't believe in a Christian God, just sit there and make a general nuisance of yourself. Neither one does any harm.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 8, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    honestly the majority of people could care less about all this PC stuff - the bottom line they are NOT offended. The only ones offended are the radicals - the atheists - and the small number of the PC crowd who seem to make all the noise.

  • egad1 Los Angeles, CA
    May 8, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    No irony intended, but I find it extremely offensive when someone stands up and says "why are you so offended all the time? Grow a thicker skin." Voicing an objection to an obviously discriminatory ruling should not be trivialized and demeaned.

    The issue isn't whether or not it's constitutional to say a prayer before a government meeting. The question is whether or not it's constitutional to only say CHRISTIAN prayers in government meetings. It's an all-or-nothing proposition, meaning we must have ALL faith groups represented, or none, and the SCOTUS has obviously chosen the former with its ruling. Therefore, before EVERY government meeting, we now need to open with prayers of ANY faith group in attendance, upon request. If a Muslim wants to chant to Allah, it must be allowed. If a Pagan wants to perform a ritual, it must be allowed. And so on. The problem is, this won't happen, because anyone who requests to recite their non-Christian faith's prayers will be seen as un-American, because of this ruling. And yes, I find that offensive, as an American.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    May 8, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    @Hutterite Does "anyone" really include "anyone?" Do you not believe that there are certain acts, or people who subscribe to particular acts, that society - as a whole - would find reprehensible and not suitable for any type of public display? Are there not certain people - because their acts and choice of "worship" are so objectionable that most would not choose to invite their public display of "religiosity?"

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 8, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Re: "As the number of nonbelievers grows . . . so does the itch to litigate believers into submission to secular sensibilities."

    Exactly.

    Today's iconoclastic liberal secularists would have been jack-booted National Socialists, unwashed Bolshevik pikemen, or Maoist book-toting Red Guards, had the accident of birth placed them in the appropriate time and place.

    To them, the core issue in not really religion, or its practice, doctrines or dogma. Rather, it's control over their neighbors and fellow citizens. Courtrooms are the barricades they've elected to man. And, too many callow, doctrinaire jurists are handing them the bricks and pavers they throw at us.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 8, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    People who seek offense will always find something to be offended about. People who seek unity will look for ways to promote unity. If George Will is "agnostic" or an “amiable, low-voltage atheist” as LDS Liberal reported, then George is showing, by example, that even those who may not have a belief in Deity can be tolerant when others desire to pray.

    My question is, what makes people afraid of prayer? Why are they offended when someone uses his right to speak, to use that right to speak to God? Why do they want legislation that prohibits prayer when the Constitution guarantees that Congress will not interfere with religion? Is "free speech" offensive to them or do they want to do away with the Constitution?

    If prayer is forbidden in public, how long would it be before prayer is forbidden in a family setting, after all, some are now telling us that only the public school should be allowed to teach our children. COULD prayer be seen as teaching children that there is a God?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 8, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Come on

    "Taking offense has become America's national pastime . . . "

    And no where is that more true than in George F Will or Charles Krauthammer columns.

    Right Wing "Pundits" in general make taking offense their reason for existence. Taking offense is what they do.

    George F Will is projecting again.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    May 8, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    Excellent points George, as usual.

    This class of the perpetually offended remind me of brats from my childhood who were constantly on the lookout for any behavior in others that would even skirt the edge of propriety and provide for themselves an opportunity to report the behavior to the nearest teacher, parent, or any other authority figure who they would expect to exact some form of punishment.

    Their personality type is brimming with such an overabundance of passive aggression they always feel a need to force others into some kind of submission to their will. Like people who park in the passing lane and drive at or just below the speed limit. Another good example is the puritanical PC thought and language police who have become so destructively influential in academia and many agencies of government.

    Fortunately, they haven't yet become as influential or destructive to freedom as in countries where that obsessive control mentality has become the official form of government, such as all the Communist and other Facist, totalitarian countries. But, that is the direction toward which all of these control obsessives face and, inevitably, wish to push others.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    May 8, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    "...The court has never held that legislative prayer must be nonsectarian...just ceremonial...".

    Will applauds the courts wisdom in avoiding a prescription for legislative prayer...

    Yet fails to see ceremonial prayer as the court approved nuance...default.

    Purists will say this is an unacceptable distinction...

    Purists overlook the fact that 5 unelected lawyers have at least approved prayer...

    even though that approval extends only to prayer somehow nuanced as ceremonial.

    Wonderful.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 8, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    I'm amenable to the Jeffersonian approach to this. I don't mind if there's prayer before the meeting; just be prepared and willing to let anyone who comes in the door to have a turn. Anyone.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 8, 2014 9:19 a.m.

    Like I was saying yesterday...

    I don't understand whey atheists and the LEFT (which claim to not care about prayer, religion, and are supposedly uber-tolerant of different life-styles, different opinions, people not like them, etc)... yet they are in and all out war AGAINST prayer in a meeting???

    AND... they claim the reason they are against it is because Christians would complain if somebody from another religion prayed in a meeting!

    That's just bunk...
    That's not tolerance...

    #1. It won't happen.
    #2. Even if it does... who cares. People complain about things all the time. Doesn't stop us from preserving liberty!

    IF we curtailed people's Constitutional liberties every time somebody complained... we would soon have NO LIBERTIES...

    Freedom of religion is no different than any other freedom we have. Don't assume you know best and must use the government to restrict us for our own good.

    When there is liberty... there will be some abuse, and some complaining. Doesn't mean you end that liberty...

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 8, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Interesting,
    Since George Will revealed in a Colbert Report interview that he is an agnostic.
    In a later story he said he is an “amiable, low-voltage atheist.”

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    May 8, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    "....Taking offense has become America's national pastime; being theatrically offended supposedly signifies the exquisitely refined moral delicacy of people who feel entitled to pass through life without encountering ideas or practices that annoy them...."
    ______________________________

    It's far more than a national pastime. There is an irrepressible strain of Puritanism in our national blood. We see it on both the extreme left and the extreme right.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 8, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    It occurs to me that the same people who find public prayer an endorsement of a particular religion would also find that the number of, say Christian churches, in a particular town or city would also be seen as an endorsement of a particular religion. After all, the city or town is run by a government. A government that provides services such as police, fire, water, ect. to said churches. In a perfect world of seperation of church and state, those things should not be provided by the state. However, since we don't live in a would of perfect seperation, the state will provide services to not just one church, but all religions and their structures. That is how our country is run and it seems a very reasonable way to do it. As Mr. Will said in so many words, there are just a lot people looking for a reason to be offended and become litigious as a result. Thomas Jefferson would have in so many words told them to "mellow out."