The problem with public prayer is that most I’ve been around pay homage to organized religion By praying on behalf of all those attending, what about others in the audience who contend such supplications are falling on deaf ears and don’t share the same faith. How about the dreaded minority of non-believers? Their number is currently growing at a significant rate.
So what? Why should the majority worry about the minority? They can leave the room or stick fingers in their ears if they feel misrepresented. The reason is it’s rude and falsely presupposes everyone somehow believes the same.
I vehemently disagree with the right-leaning Supreme Court who recently ruled 5-4 that the mostly Christian prayers of the Greece, New York Town Council didn’t violate the constitutional separation of church and state. It appears to me the decision left open the possibility of significantly eroding the intent of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment stating the government “shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” Promoting Christian prayer in a public setting is a step in the direction of doing exactly that.
I instead agree with the Supreme Court ruling in Engle v. Vitale 370 U. S. 421 (1962). The State Board of Regents in New York had composed what they believed to be a nondenominational prayer they suggested, but didn’t mandate, be recited by all students at the start of each school day. It stated, “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”
The Court ruled the prayer was unconstitutional. Justice Black explained government instituted prayer “…was one of the reasons which caused our early colonists to leave England and seek religious freedom in America.” He made it clear in his opinion it was immaterial that no particular religion was targeted by the prayer. He noted the prayer targeted an entire group of religions that believe in an “Almighty God” and that was just as religious as would have been the case if only a specific God had been designated.
I have no problem at all when prayer takes place in a private setting such a believer’s home under circumstances where invited guests might reasonably anticipate the host might offer thanks and a blessing on the food being served. It would be nice if they, at least, considered my rejection of the power of praying; that they risk not being poisoned and any thanks go directly to the preparer of the meal.
I’d never make an issue out of it, but it somewhat bothers me when a devout Christian makes an effort to say a silent prayer of blessing and thanksgiving with bowed head and closed eyes when sharing a meal with others of unknown faith at a public establishment like a restaurant. It seems kind of egotistical to me. I wonder why such a prayer couldn’t just as well take place somewhere else. How about in private before entering the restaurant? Surely, the timing isn’t all that critical and the food would be equally blessed and thanked for.
Whether legal or not, Christian oriented prayer is promoted to open and close all kinds of public gatherings from the locker rooms of school athletic teams to the halls of all levels of local government. It’s been toned down a bit so as not to appear to favor one denomination over another, but there’s seldom a doubt of it being addressed to the Christian God.
Such prayers express submissive deference while invoking God’s inspiration to make sure things go smoothly. So, what’s so wrong with that? It assumes all those present agree with that religious hypothesis, which is often not the case. It tends to impose tacit acceptance.
Organizers of all situations involving strictly public settings should be sensitive to the likelihood that both believers of differing religious persuasions and non-believers may be in attendance.
Raymond A. Hult
Note: This post is in response to a couple of member suggestions that I post more frequently to agnostic.com if I'm going to openly advertise my above blog site
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Amazing how many "Christians" have never read their own book of twaddle
Prayer in public reeks of arrogance and exhibitionism. It's an affront: you're either with us, the "one true way," or you're lost. What other religionists besides Christians do you ever see praying publicly in the USA?
There was a Canadian cop went into a muslim guys backyard. The muslim was beating his rug on the clothes line. The Cop said, what is the matter? can't get it started this morning. The cop was fired for racial discrimination.
@Castlepaloma What was the cop doing in that guy's backyard? Don't they have search warrants in Canada? I'd need to see the citation on this and full story b/c I don't believe it.
I read about it in a News paper years ago. I don't see this happening in the US, but Canadians, they are super sensitive, when it comes to racial slurs. I seen personally plenty of people getting fired, over just saying a racial slur once.
Personally I find it hurts free speech and humor.
@Castlepaloma Studies show Canadians are a happier people than we are. Racial slurs should not be allowed but not everything is a racial slur. Americans don't know the first thing about free speech and libs are doing only slightly better than cons about humor.
I agree with Bill Maher
Comedian are the most serious and truthful people I know,. Many need to lighten up.
@Castlepaloma We will do that right after the 7 deadly sins Party is dead. There won't be much to make fun of if religious CON's are drummed out of serious adult places and so-called "laws." We'll see what the people want soon enough or be dead. Either is good for me, these days.
The xians conquered aboriginal land by murdering anyone without a crucifix dangling from their necks or rosary beads... believers are not about alleged gawds they are all about CONQUEST total local control of ovaries penises paychecks and property
Thou shall keep religion to thou self.
I don't like public prayer, private prayer, group prayer, silent prayer, policemen praying, etc., etc. If you must pray do not call my attention to it. Can we then substitute your prayer habits with my bathroom habits if it makes you happy.
@TheMiddleWay When that happens you might remind them that English is not the official language of the USA. The USA does not have an official language.
@TheMiddleWay Bueno, está bien amigo. Haz lo que te de la gana. Yo, por mi parte, prefiero demostrar que soy capáz de comunicar en más de una idioma (y sentirme cómodo dentro de más de una cultura).
i couldn't care any less. get over yourself, people all over the world are hungry and mistreated and sick and worse. wah, wah! bunch of piss babies, sound like trump.
I think you can do both. You can still be bothered by public prayer and have concern for the problems of the world. It's not that difficult.
@raymondahult sure you can have both on your mind, but whining about praying seems selfish and childish.
I agree: prayer in a government setting (e.g. a public school or city council meeting) and invoking any god, even if non-denominational, is unconditional. And I would appreciate it if religious folk would refrain from making a show of their piety in public, or erecting religious symbols (e.g. crosses) on high hills where one cannot help but see them.
How about wearing religious clothing/jewelry into our halls of power. Dems support doing that but I find it just as outrageous as a ten foot cross on a hill.
@rainmanjr To me seeing a cross hanging from someone's neck is not as jarring as seeing a cross on a hill or mountain top. The former is just a personal expression. The latter is a statement of dominance, announcing Christian hegemony, and woe to anyone who opposes it.
@Flyingsaucesir It was against Christian laws for quite some time (before being "Born again" came into vogue) as was public celebrations (like Christmas or Easter). Head gear, for any religion, is also problematic for me. Are we going to allow full religious robes in Congress next? This is partly, I think, why Dems are scoffed at about their religious complaints. We make exceptions for our side.
@rainmanjr As for personal attire, I don't mind what people wear. At least you get a heads-up about where they might be coming from. This could be an advantage in a debate.
@Flyingsaucesir We are going to disagree on this one. As I said, libs (which I'm assuming) tend to make exceptions for their folks. To me it makes them a joke on the entire issue of public religious displays, like prayer, and removes their cred. I am not trying to insult you, sir, only air my view.
Muslims, though they are not as great in numbers as Christians or look for less conspicuous places to spread the rug.