Letter to the Editor

Prayer not offensive

Arroyo GrandeApril 28, 2014 

With regard to public prayer, an offered prayer of any persuasion should be considered a part of the tolerance that all are expected to have in a public forum. Anyone should be welcome to pray. If one persuasion seems to dominate, it may be because of community demographics, not government endorsement.

To hear prayer for the good of our elected officials and communities reminds us that the public religious voice is there to bless and encourage. Public prayer bears witness that we can pray alongside others, even atheists, without the violent aftermath present elsewhere.

Since when is listening to something you don’t believe in a violation of constitutional rights? Students, no longer required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, must still stand and listen. Those “uncomfortable” with public prayer may also be uncomfortable with Easter services held in a public park, or a gospel song at a community festival.

Religious activities naturally spill out of church walls because religious beliefs create a religious life as well as religious speech. It is chilling that even the threat of a lawsuit could begin an encroaching silence on public religious activities, starting with prayer.

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