Sunday, December 20, 2009

MSU Criticized for Prayer Service

On October 16 of this year Mississippi State University installed a new president. The day's schedule of events included a prayer service at the beginning. An atheist blogger is complaining about a state university holding a prayer service. To quote the blog: "To be clear, Mississippi State University is violating the separation of church and state by making prayer services an official part of their events. They are a state-sponsored institution and have no business promoting religion."

Is it promoting religion to hold a service if a large number of those involved would like to have one? Or is that just recognizing the people's desire? And clearly the prayer service would not in any way be required, even as a convenience of those wishing to attend the day's events. Here is the published schedule:

  • 7:30-8:15 a.m. - Prayer Service at the Chapel of Memories
  • 9-11 a.m. - Reception in the Foster Ballroom of the Colvard Student Union
  • 12 noon - Investiture Ceremony begins with Processional across the Drill Field
One could easily skip the service (sleep in a little) and start at the reception.

But what about the man who is being quoted when "separation of church and state" is raised? From a previous post on my blog:
This same man, Thomas Jefferson, founded the University of Virginia in 1819 (years after the First Amendment was ratified). He provided in his regulations for the University of Virginia that the main rotunda be used for religious worship. And he proposed that all University of Virginia students be required to study as a matter of ethics "the proofs of the being of a God, the creator, preserver, and supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all relations within morality, and of the laws and obligations these infer."

So we the man who has become famous in the last 60 years because of his "separation" phrase have objected to an optional prayer service that was not even physically connected to any other event?

Read the blog post here:
Mississippi State University Violates Church-State Separation

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