Saturday, November 10, 2007

Prayers in Jesus Name Before a Meeting

Below is a link to an article about the Osceola County commissioners prayer before meetings. It seems they invoke Jesus' name in the prayers. They are being pressured by various groups and the general public to stop.

If you read this (short) article, you can see where I think we often go the wrong direction today. Despite some previous misinterpretations by courts, open a county meeting with a prayer in Jesus' name is NOT unconstitutional. They should not be forced to stop because of a lawsuit. The opinion article below makes is sound as though the general public find such prayers offensive. That should be considered, but it is a matter of sensitivity, not of legality.

The First Amendment is meant to keep the Federal Government from making a law creating an official religion that people will be forced to participate in. It also prohibits that government interfering with people's worship. Later court decisions have been thought to provide that same limitation to the states. Even if we extend that decision down to the county and local level (which courts have not done in a declarative way), the First Amendment is about LAWS, not about the habits of leaders of meetings.

We should (in many areas, not just this one) avoid looking to the courts to solve all our disagreements. If the commission's leaders are insensitive that should be discussed and resolved. If the leaders are not willing to listen, it can be handled in the next election. It should not come to a lawsuit.

County Commissioners Praying in Jesus' Name

The topics in this blog may also be read in a categorized format in the following forum:

Religion and the First Amendment

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