06 November, 2013

Shame On All City Governments That Use Audible, Public Christian Prayers To Make non-Christians Feel Unwelcome In Their Own Council Chambers

The US Supreme Court is discussing the case of  Town of Greece V. Galloway. At issue is whether it's constitutional for the tiny town of Greece, NY, to open city council meetings with Christian prayers.

I'm neither a lawyer nor a judge so I won't opine on whether or not prayers before city council meetings are constitutional but here's what I know: Citizens who don't subscribe to the religion or pray to the god of the one leading in prayer should not be made to feel like outsiders when they go to a city council meeting and try to exercise their right to participate in community life. Shame on Greece, NY for letting this go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Shame on all cities that disenfranchise non-Christian citizens by subjecting them to public Christian prayers.

Make no mistake about it, cities that open council meetings with public Christian prayers are not doing so because they  think their God can only hear them  if they pray audibly  from council chambers; they insist on praying out loud in council chambers precisely because they want to make non-Christians uncomfortable and unwelcome in their own city government meetings. 

If public, audible Christian  prayers before city council meetings are not intended to disenfranchise non-Christians, then why not encourage Christians to pray silently before the meeting? Even a moment of silence in which believers could have the option of silent prayer to the god of their choice would be OK.

Shame on all city governments that use audible, public Christian prayers to make non-Christians feel unwelcome in their own council chambers. Even if the SCOTUS finds it constitutional for city councils to open meetings with audible Christian prayers, cities should stop using prayer to make their non-Christian citizens feel unwelcome in their own city government meetings.

Higginbotham At Large reads all submitted comments but only publishes comments from clearly identified submitters. No Ring of Gyges for you.

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