Are prayers appropriate for government functions?
A federal court ruled last week that the Pennsylvania state House was allowed to have the invocation that starts each legislative day delivered only by religious leaders who believe in God or a divine or higher power. The court said it was constitutional for the House to prohibit atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists and other nonbelievers from taking the pulpit. Do you think prayers are appropriate in government?
Quaker faith created the thoughtful space I sought for our elected officials.
John Marquette Bethlehem
U.S. Supreme Court decision which upheld prayer at public meetings as long as no religion is advanced or disparaged and residents are not coerced.
The principal dissent argued that the intimate setting of local government meetings, the participation of average citizens and the dominance of Christian prayer put the policy out of bounds. It may put pressure on people to participate. In the dissent it states, “When citizens of this country approach their government, they do so as Americans, not as one faith or another.”
It would seem that a moment of silence is the most inclusive way for people to participate. That silence crosses all boundaries and backgrounds.
As a gesture of respect, that time could be used for silent contemplation, prayer, reflection or meditation. The silence can be a unifying moment rather than one of separation and division.
Fran Ostrosky Hanover Township, Northampton County
We have lost so much in our country since these are things we grew up with. It brings people together. Kind words are able to be expressed since there is so much disrespect in our everyday life.
Charlotte Schall Whitehall Township
Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg