Your Nov. 7 edition included a letter from Borough Assemblyman Stan Welles, “Electorate should insist on Christian invocation.” He contends that at the time our Constitution was written, Christianity was the only religion practiced in this country, therefore (only) a Christian invocation is appropriate at meetings of governmental bodies. While they may have been an even smaller minority than they are today, Jews and Muslims did live, and presumably practice their religions in the thirteen colonies that became the U.S.
It seems to me that the question should be, is an invocation necessary at meetings of governmental bodies? Those who feel that it is necessary to pray for our government are free to do so before such meetings, in their own homes, or do so silently during these meetings; a moment of silence during which attendees can pray, each in their own manner, seems appropriate to me.
And to quote the Bible (Matthew 5, verses 5 and 6): “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites ….. enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seethe in secret shall reward thee openly.” (King James Version.)
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and Article I, Section 4 of our state constitution confirms this at the state level. I don’t think it is within the authority of any governmental body to tell me to pray or not to pray, and if I choose to pray, what to pray for and what words to use.
Folks like Mr. Welles are elected to do the public’s business, and it seems to me that we would all be better off if they would confine themselves to doing so, and stay out of bringing religion into government.
On another matter: your Nov. 4 edition carried a column by Ted Bailey on “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold. I share Mr. Bailey’s high regard for this book and its author. I’m sure that if Aldo Leopold was alive today, he would support the regulations adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Service to prohibit certain practices within Wildlife Refuges managed by them, and oppose the move by Senators Murkowski and Sullivan to withhold funds necessary to enforce these regulations.