Scott Tibbs
blog post
July 8th, 2004

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Prayer at County Council meetings?

The Monroe County Council is facing an objection to its practice of having an invocation at the beginning of each Council meeting. The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening a lawsuit if they do not stop the practice.

This is something I'm ambivalent about. I don't believe it is unconstitutional, so long as it's open to everyone. The council isn't endorsing a specific religion; they are just allowing people to exercise their free speech rights.

At the same time, this is not something I am excited about supporting. If someone wanted to pray to Gaia, Allah or Buddha, the council would not be allowed to discriminate. Do Christians really want to be involved in such a prayer with other religions?

Even if I supported the invocation, I do not think this is something worth "going to war" over. I do not think we need to spend a lot of taxpayer money fighting a lawsuit over this. I think conservatives put too much emphasis on having "religion" in the public square.

Will the council having the invocation save anyone from his or her sins? No. Will it positively impact the culture? No. Our problems are too deep to be solved by local unites of government praying before each meeting.

Furthermore, this is not an issue of religious freedom. No one's First Amendment liberties are being denied if the county council does not have an invocation at the beginning of each council meeting.