Public Prayer

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of government organizations to begin their meetings with a public prayer, as long as that practice does not favor one religion over another.  They did not seem to be concerned that their ruling favors religious faith over a lack of belief in a prayer receptive deity.

This unfortunate decision also demonstrates little appreciation for the social, political and economic pressure that, while not openly expressed, is imposed on the participants.  One can easily imagine that this pressure (and the consequences that come with it) is more significant in some regions of our country than it is in others.  After all, intense religious faith tends to be associated with politically conservative and poorly educated sectors of the population; within such groups, a lack of engagement in or enthusiasm for public prayer may be a significant political and/or economic liability.

One wonders why we don't favor "moments of silence," during which individuals might formulate their own thoughts.  Need we be guided in those thoughts by a visiting priest, rabbi, minister or Muslim cleric?  In my opinion, mysticism is a personal right that should not be inflicted on other members of society.