EDITORIAL: Prayer need not be divisive

2014-05-11T08:30:00Z EDITORIAL: Prayer need not be divisiveJournal editorial board Rapid City Journal
May 11, 2014 8:30 am  • 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to allow prayers before government meetings quieted what had been a sometimes contentious debate over the appropriateness of public prayer.

In Rapid City and elsewhere, threats of lawsuits were received from groups opposed to public prayer as a breach of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Although the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the First Amendment, it has been interpreted by some as intending to bar religious expression such as prayer at government functions.

The Supreme Court’s decision settles the argument between those who support prayer in the public square and those who are opposed.

The court’s acceptance of public prayer validates the Rapid City Council’s decision last year to defy threats of a lawsuit if its tradition of praying before council meetings didn’t stop.

In January 2013, the Rapid City Council received a letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation threatening legal action if the council didn’t end the practice of an invocation before meetings. Council members voiced their support for the prayers, which are offered by members of the Rapid City Ministerial Association. The council also asked for the city attorney to draw up a policy on prayer.

The proposed prayer policy was rejected by the city council, and the prayers have continued.

Meanwhile, several groups offered to pay the city’s legal bills if it was sued by the Freedom From Religion group.

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow prayers before meetings ends Freedom From Religion’s threat of litigation and validates the Rapid City Council’s support of its prayer tradition.

We are thankful that the Supreme Court has removed the possibility of a lawsuit that would cost taxpayers to fight.

We never saw a problem with public prayer. If some people object to prayers spoken before government meetings, we take note that no one is being forced to participate in the prayers and are free to leave if they so choose.

There are many divisive issues that face Rapid City and other communities; the fact that some people voluntarily bow their heads in prayer before discussing these important matters should not be made contentious.

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. Posey
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    Posey - May 15, 2014 11:46 am
    " But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray "--Who was that directed to?
  2. Posey
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    Posey - May 12, 2014 12:10 pm
    Because the words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the Constitution, the argument runs, the document provides for merger of the two.

    It's bosh: ahistorical, untextual, illogical.(forbes)

    "The Court has repeatedly held that "separation of church and state" is the constitutional cornerstone of religious liberty."



    John Adams signed the 1797 Treaty with Tripoli, which reassured that Muslim nation that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."-----------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------""Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."--Jefferson
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    A question the deniers of seperation of church and state will never answer is---If there should be NO seperation, what would you want to do you can't do now? What freedom of religion do you not have with the wall that guareentees religiouss for every body?
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    The writer of this editorial displays clearly the reason and need for the "wall of seperation" when he says " and are free to leave if they so choose."---That is exactly the kind of tyrannical self supposed superior mentality the founders wanted to avoid knowing it to be the nature of religious absolutists to impose their particular religious on others.
    --------------------------------------------------
    The SCOTUSA has made their decision, so be it,but folks like the writer should remember that decision came with guidelines, the idea that there is no chance of a court challendge to how PUBLIC officials react to that decision is not true. The cartoon below that editorial makes that point. Which persons of faith are going to be denied their turn at the podium becaust their faith isn't the correct one? Let the lawsuits begin.
  3. Posey
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    Posey - May 12, 2014 12:09 pm

    Matthew 6:5-6

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Does your bible not mean what it clearly says when it applies to y'all but it does whe you want to condemn others?
  4. Revelation
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    Revelation - May 12, 2014 8:44 am
    Keep in mind that was taken out of context. Jesus called out the Pharisees because they were trying to appear to be religious but their hearts were not guided by faith. Jesus prayed publicly on many instances throughout the New Testament. Jesus did not like hypocrites and pointed their hypocrisy out.
  5. Revelation
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    Revelation - May 12, 2014 8:41 am
    That is what some dictatorships have done.
  6. holsworth1
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    holsworth1 - May 12, 2014 6:09 am
    Why not just ban all public showing of any religion, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim etc. As well as removing people that follow any type of belief from holding any public office or job. Then there would be no reason to fight over religion in the public square.That would also mean no religious icons in any public display, including private property. Or am I being crazy. To stop this argument, that is what I think we need to do. ,
  7. sohillsgal
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    sohillsgal - May 11, 2014 3:41 pm
    It is not so much the prayer being held prior to the meeting but the religious slant debates, rules and laws take during the meetings that matter the most. Leaving personal beliefs out of the public domain prevents slanted views and laws which are not based on our Constitution but the "bible". This is the reason we insist on the separation of church and state. Never to prevent those who believe in a higher power to stop that belief.
  8. Posey
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    Posey - May 11, 2014 2:34 pm
    Why do christians strive to publicly show their contempt for what their bible clearly says?

    Matthew 6:5-6

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others."
  9. GL
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    GL - May 11, 2014 11:00 am
    Another WRONG decision made by the Roberts court....
  10. Shorty
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    Shorty - May 11, 2014 9:06 am
    Guess I'll have to remember to arrive 5 minutes late from now on so I can miss the religious dribble they feel they need to dish out before doing the cities business.
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