Prayer in public meetings

I take a mini-break from writing and news and what do I come back to?? City Council actually considering prayer during public city business meetings.

Thank you, city council for considering 1) lengthening your already long meetings, 2) making someone like me feel uncomfortable as others pray because I don’t, 3) creating the sense of insiders vs outsiders if this new tradition is adopted, 4) considering crossing the line of separation of church and state which respects not only those who are a variety of religions but also those who do not believe. City council should be about city business – period. What is up with adding all this extra NON-BUSINESS stuff?

Our system of governance was created to be fair to those who may be in the minority. That doesn’t mean my rights override your rights or vice versa – it means being fair, even, impartial, unbiased, etc, etc. Many fear the repercussions of saying, “I don’t believe what you believe” and just go along with whatever to not rock the boat; but, this move just isn’t respectful for the variety of constituents of the community.

If you saw the link provided above, LaSanbe has a video of the city council meeting where the issue is discussed. Isn’t it telling that they have to do additional research to FIND A LOOPHOLE to make prayer part of meetings??

If you have to keep asking legal for clarification, doesn’t that already tell you that maybe there is something amiss about the suggestion you make??

Occasionally I attend city council meetings for business. I would hope that business is what is discussed. Which leads me to all the congratulations and recognitions… ok, that is an entirely different post. The point is that I have already expressed this concern to Councilman San Miguel in other (in person and online) settings and was surprised this proposal was brought up when there are so many other issues that could fought for and tackled in the precious time the city council has.

My “citizen vote” is to drop the issue, don’t lengthen the meeting, and don’t impose a practice that is not in everyone’s lives and does not give everyone an equal voice.

There, done expressing my feelings on this issue.

LaSanbe’s city council video:

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12 Responses to Prayer in public meetings

  1. I really wish I wasn't serious says:

    Great! Maybe I can propose a regular Sports Highlights Reel during every meeting. If we can bring in Religion can we bring in Sports? The players always point to God when they score so I think they go hand in hand, no?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree 100%. Leave Prayer out of City Council Business. One has nothing to do with the other. The thought is ridiculous and the fact that it may make others uncomfortable should be plain common sence. The Council is supposed to represent the whole city and all of it’s people not just the ones that have the same religious beliefs and practices. Leave that to church meetings.

  3. Andres C says:

    yeah, dont get me started on this. i think we have covered this topic before. I have my own religious beliefs, but believe more in the separation of church and state. I HATE the fact that at the City sponsored Fourth of July event at the civic center, it seemed as if the mayor and the councilmembers present were having a competition to see who could shout “thank GOD” the most times and the loudest.

    the idea of having this practice present at city hall is not cool. is it not enough that at most city events there is a prayer and or thanking of god for the funding, for the workers, etc (sarcasm)? Honestly, this is what city hall is worried about right now? fiscal year is coming to an end shortly, still have a shortfall as far as i know, and we are worried about praying before meetings? notice praying….saying a prayer…still kind of once sided or selective isnt it? there is no mention of incantations before city council, is there? how about a human sacrifice or two to bless the council? as vera said, all practices would have to be allowed right?

    although the discussion itself shows what is wrong with the system. they are worried about HAVING to let everyone do it, instead of SHOULD they do it. I agree with you about being uncomfortable when things like this happen. I always feel out of place when the issue of god and religion come up at work. oh yeah, as a city employee you are not allowed to talk about god at work because it may offend your coworker, but hey lets let city council talk about it and pray before all of their meetings.

    Please GOD, ALLAH, FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER, ODIN, ZEUS, BUDDAH, SHIVA, RA, SOMEONE (or no one, depending on your beliefs)!!! please talk sense into these people, RELIGION AND GOVERNMENT DONT MIX, that is by design.

  4. Raquel.K.E. says:

    I agree 100%. The thought is ridiculous! Business is Business. The City Council is supposed to represent the whole city and all of it’s people. Not just the ones with the same religious beliefs. Despite what these people may think, there are actually people who do not practice prayer or religion in the same way they do.

  5. Christy says:

    why don’t they just have a moment of silence. people could pray to what ever god they want (or just think about your grocery list if you don’t pray).

  6. Monica says:

    But how else are they going to show us that they’re good people? 😉

  7. kbinldo says:

    I believe in God, but I also think that if praying means so much to Councilman San Miguel, he can do it in his office before the meeting starts. But wait, whoopsie, there won’t be any cameras present so we call can see just how hard he’s praying. Dang it, there’s always a catch.

    Of course, I could point out that Jesus had something to say about those who made a show of themselves praying in public, but I’ve been told on “good authority” that Jesus didn’t really mean that. What evs.

  8. Inrideo says:

    I have suggested this for people to say when someone asks them to do grace: “All Father Odin! We thank you for this fine meal! And for those who gave their lives so that we might take it from them! We thank you for this mead, which slakes our thirst, and for these fine buxom women who make do until the Valkyries take us home. May Thor’s Hammer rise before me every morning!”

    I’m sure you could come up with a modified version to sound off in chambers when the prayer call is made 🙂

  9. Mac says:

    Wouldn’t it be fun to propose that local churches address city business concerns before their pastors/priests deliver sermons? 😀

  10. CMLdo says:

    I was at the meeting and I’m pretty sure, if I heard correctly, that Jorge Vera said he doesn’t approve of people who come in and pray for stuff he doesn’t believe in. Was that what he meant or did I mishear it?

    Also, Johnny Rendon – can’t believe I’m saying this – is right. Moment of silence is truly the best option. That should’ve been end of discussion. But Charlie San Miguel – who seems to be full of dumb ideas – wanted the city lawyer to look into how the Lege does it and come back with a report. PRESSING ISSUES!

    That whole meeting was one “problem” that wasn’t really a problem after another. So mind-numbing. Mike Garza was concerned we weren’t taking advantage of all grants, and then the suggestion was brought up to maybe create the position of a general grant writer to oversee all the other grant writers. JESUS CHRIST NO.

    It makes me so depressed that these people run this city.

  11. Poncho1950 says:

    Like others who do not pray, I am uncomfortable at public, governmental functions that include a public call to prayer. Why? Because I know people are suspicious of those who are not in the religious mainstream.

    This begs the question: Is my discomfort sufficient to ban prayer at such functions? Some would argue no, because other discussions or actions cannot be banned simply because they make people uncomfortable. For example, what if a person wants to see a section of downtown razed to make way for modern buildings and new economic opportunities? The discussion at city council could raise a hue and cry about the destruction of historic properties and loss of identity, and make people suspicious of those who support such activity.

    But then again, such discussion is necessary to the business proper of city council. Prayer is not the council’s business. That is a private, religious matter, and the U.S. Constitution, in the First Amendment, says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Is a moment for public prayer a law? Certainly not, but the Supreme Court has generally ruled that the Founding Fathers’ intent was to keep religion and government separate. Jefferson later referred to the “wall of separation,” a popular phrasing that is often cited in referring to this clause.

    So mine and other people’s discomfort is not the issue; nor is whether politicians want to parade their piety for personal gain or self-satisfaction; it’s the Constitution.

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