May 5, 2014

When in Greece...

...do as the 'Greecians' do. And say a little prayer before your meetings.

According to the Supreme Court's decision in the Town of Greece v Galloway case, 'legislative prayer' is the kind that happens before a government meeting, such as the ones they hold in the Town of Greece, down the road from here outside Rochester NY.  As such, it's got a long history in our country, and as long as it's no coercive or proselytistic not denigrating or demeaning to any other religion, and does not place one religion above others, it's OK. 

I confess (in a completely non-religious way) that it does make me a little uncomfortable -- not a lot, but a little -- that something as personal as asking for guidance or intervention has, over time, become such a public thing.

Does it bother me enough to file a lawsuit? Nope -- frankly, I don't have that much courage. Usually, I just cave and either put my head down and keep my thoughts to myself, or I furtively look around to see if anyone else is doing the same thing I'm doing, and hoping I don't get caught in the act. 

A town board meeting is not a religious service --it's a town board meeting. It's a place where the public goes to do business with their elected and appointed officials (and vice versa), and there shouldn't be a religious connotation or expectation associated with it. A person shouldn't have to worry whether the board might treat them differently for failing to actively participate in the meeting's opening prayer, and a person shouldn't have to profess a religious belief in order to talk town business. (It's also worth noting that the meetings also include the Pledge of Allegiance, so they kind of have the 'under God' thing covered).

Should a legislative meeting need an opening, there's always "Let's get ready to rumble!" or "Let the games begin!" or "Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!" or "Play ball!"  or something along those lines.