I have no reason to doubt that Las Vegas Mayor (Tony) Marquez’s “intentions are clean and good,” as a city councilor attests, when he advocates that Las Vegas City Council meetings begin with a prayer. However, I do wonder if his intentions aren’t misguided. The council already makes a moment of silence available for meeting goers to pray or not, as they choose. Why narrow their choices to a ceremony that may not reflect their religious beliefs, or their desire not to believe in a god? Why go out of your way to alienate at least some of the good people of Las Vegas?
A number of aphorisms apply here. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” for example. But the most relevant maxim might be, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
I fear the city would invite civil rights litigation, and needlessly so, if it requires prayer at City Council meetings.
Peter G. Simonson
ACLU of New Mexico