There is a minor controversy here in Delaware about some government bodies starting their meetings with official prayers -- some explicitly sectarian, some not. When challenged, elected officials tend to defend the practice as "tradition." The News Journal takes meets that defense square-on:
Tradition has its virtues, but that's not one of them. The council members are perfectly free to pray, individually or in groups, all they want -- just as long as they don't do it when they are acting in an official capacity.But they balance that with some common-sense advice to those complaining, noting that the official prayers don't do as much harm as some claim.
Our reservations about the actions of the council members would not begin with their pleas for divine guidance. If anything, we would encourage more of it -- provided it was not part of the meeting.But, the editors conclude, the tradition of prayer is not worth the damage it does to Democracy:
Reciting a prayer, especially a specific one, such as The Lord's Prayer, as part of a government function, automatically excludes a portion of the audience -- people who pay taxes and have the right to participate in the government business at hand. That should not happen.Now, normally I advocate against looking at the readers' comments on the News Journal's site. This time, curiosity got the better of me and immediately found a comment by a WalterPerry that I think proves the point:
America is a Christian Nation founded by Bible believing. God Fearing,Jesus Loving & Holy Spirit filled Men & women of God!.Not Muslims,Hindus,Harry Christa's. or any other "religion" If u don't like God or Jesus, id suggest u either SHUT UP, or Move to a Communist country! "Official" Prayers do not exclude ANYONE..Go ahead..Pray!Walter, dude, take a deep breath and wipe the spittle off your keyboard.