A discussion on prayer dominated the Jan. 4 Monroeville Council citizen’s night meeting.We took a look at this a few weeks ago and I'm still amazed that there's still a discussion about this in Monroeville.
About a dozen residents spoke out on the subject during the public comment portion that evening.
The discussion stems from a complaint filed by resident Josh Allenberg last fall with the American Civil Liberties Union asking elected officials to refrain from reciting a specific prayer. Monroeville council has, for nearly five decades, opened its meetings with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.
For that point, I agree with this point:
Resident Marilyn Devlin said she was in favor of the municipality beginning the meetings with a moment of silence.And I more or less disagree with this point:
“This is a government building and this is a government meeting,” she said. “I question why, in a government building, we are talking about prayer,” and added that a moment of silence would not exclude anyone. [Emphasis added.]
Pastor Bruce Shafer of Grace Life Church in Monroeville, said the goal of prayer at meetings should be “to pray for our community and the leaders of our community.” He added that residents should be free to pray openly at meetings.Yes, but we're not talking about residents are we? If a resident wants to chant the daimoku as an intro do a question about zoning rights or tax rates, then that resident is perfectly free to do so, thanks to our First Amendment.
But we're talking about the council as an official act starting a meeting with:
Our Father, who art in heaven...Wait, whose father? Certainly can't be the case for all residents of Monroeville, can it?
Then there's this a few lines of scripture later:
Thy will be done,Wait, shouldn't the council be looking to enact the will of the people? And how do they know what God will's anyway?
on earth, as it is in heaven...
If you want to pray do it in private as Jesus commanded:
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)A city council meeting really ain't the place for it.
Thank you and Nam Myo-ho Renge Kyo.