Monday, May 16, 2011

Prayers Misplaced in Local Governance

City Council members in Salisbury [Maryland] are questioning whether to continue to start their meetings with the Lord's Prayer as they have for more than 50 years.

UPDATE 7/12/11: Lord's Prayer dropped in favor of "rotating faiths" opening

-- From "Lord's Prayer before Salisbury City Council meeting questioned" by The Associated Press 5/10/11

Newly elected council member Laura Mitchell brought up the issue of the prayer after a request from a colleague.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lord's Prayer Becomes an Issue for Salisbury City Council" posted at WBOC TV-16 5/10/11

Monday night's Salisbury City Council meeting began with a moment of "meditation," instead of the traditional Lord's Prayer. Council members will further discuss the issue at a work session next week.

City clerks believe the Lord's Prayer has been adopted alongside the agenda since May 1958. This year may be the first time it is up for discussion.

The council is bi-partisan in nature, so members are not required to disclose their party affiliation nor religious practice.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Praying in public" by Jean Marbella, The Baltimore Sun 5/14/11

In Carroll, where commissioners often end their invocations with "…in Jesus' name I pray," according to the Carroll County Times, the practice has attracted the interest of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The problem in Carroll County is you have the commissioners explicitly stating sectarian messages," said David Rocah of the Maryland ACLU chapter. "They explicitly invoke Jesus."

While Rocah calls case law on the issue of prayer at public meetings "extremely muddled," he and other lawyers say it generally is interpreted to allow invocations that do not favor one religion over another.

"We are a religiously pluralistic country, and that is one of our greatest strengths," Rocah said. "I think sectarian invocations are problematic and divisive. They exclude other beliefs. They exclude non-believers."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.