Friday, May 20, 2011

Praying for better local government

I had mixed feelings about the article Praying in Public when I saw it on the front page of the May 14 Baltimore Sun.

In the article, The Sun describes the current practice of several Maryland local government bodies of praying during public meetings. And if that weren't bad enough, in several cases, the prayer is sectarian, offered to the Christian God, not a prayer to a non-denominational generic one-size-fits-most(-if-you-ignore-atheists) god.

I was delighted that The Sun recognized there was an issue worthy of front page coverage.

But I was also appalled that the people we trust to run local governments still apparently see nothing inappropriate about beginning government meetings with any type of prayer, let alone one to "Jesus."

Not only is sectarian prayer insensitive to their constituents who practice a non-Christian religion, but also to non-believers. Yes, Salisbury and Carroll County, you have *gasp* atheists living among you! (But heck, who cares about atheists and how they feel about...well...anything? I mean, atheists should just shut up and be grateful that they're allowed to live in Salisbury and Carroll County and stop persecuting Christians by complaining about prayers being offered at their government's meetings, right?)

But my most basic concern is that we have elected officials who believe things for which there is no evidence and ask for help and guidance from a magical, invisible sky-spirit based on ancient Middle-Eastern mythology. And they're damn proud of it. That's worrisome.

I want my government to be led by people who are critical thinkers, who make decisions based on evidence--and who are aware that, even if some prayers offered at public government meetings may be legal under court decisions, they are still always inappropriate. Always.

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