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It’s a sad commentary when those of us who serve in the Kingdom of God were surprised when we heard that the Supreme Court upheld the right to prayer before public meetings earlier this week.
In the case of Town of Greece, New York versus Gallowa, two local women sued officials in Greece, New York, objecting to invocations at monthly public sessions on government property. The invocations, according to the plaintiffs, have been overwhelmingly Christian in nature over the years. The city, in an effort to appease those who were against the Christian prayers, brought in a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess, and a Baha’i believer to help lead prayers. It didn’t work.
Over the years, I have given hundreds of invocations at public events and meetings. As a member of the Tustin City Council I led many of our prayers before we opened city council meetings. Public prayer has been a longstanding tradition throughout our country and is intended to evoke a sense of blessing and goodness over these meetings (and let’s not forget wisdom and guidance), but as with most things Christian this has been turned into another way for people to be offended or outraged.
In the last few years, as I have been asked to provide invocations for commencement ceremonies and other public events, the request is often followed up with a list of rules that give me the feelings of being twisted into a pretzel. It’s silly.
And it’s troubling. We must remember that the right to religious freedom is not just a right afforded to Christians. This is a freedom that is bestowed to Americans for all religious beliefs. When the government begins to infringe on one religious belief, the impact will eventually lead to the infringement of all religious faiths. We must be diligent in protecting these freedoms for all of us.
I’m glad common sense prevailed this week from the steps of the United States Supreme Court.