Letter: Leave prayer out of public arena

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By The Staff

A letter to the editor in the Nov. 16 paper asks, “Suppose I want prayer wherever I go to attend a meeting? How come I can’t have it and yet the atheists and agnostics can say no to prayer because they don’t like it.”

 I am not an atheist or agnostic, but I also object to prayers at public meetings.

 My Irish and Scottish forefathers came to America to escape being forced to worship in the Church of England. Most people in Great Britain were members of that church, but my relatives refused to worship in the same manner as the majority.

 Because America was a refuge for those fleeing religious persecution, our founding fathers wrote into the Constitution that the government could not establish a state religion the way England did. Regardless, many Americans think expressions of the majority religion — Christianity — should be tolerated at public meetings.

 What about Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other citizens who pray in a different way, or have a god or gods different from the Christian one? Shouldn’t they be able to attend public meetings without having someone else’s religion shoved down their throats?

We can and should have prayers in our homes, our churches, and our social groups. But as a courtesy to Americans of differing faiths, beliefs, or non-beliefs, prayer should be left out of the public arena.

Bobbi Dugan

Las Vegas