Opinion: Public prayer not meant to be offensive

"In this free country, built on the backs of African slaves and dead Native people, we advocate freedom of religion and freedom of speech. But when that freedom of religion and freedom of speech is practiced in our government meetings, there seems to be controversy about prayer. The controversy over prayer seems to draw media attention, and suddenly lawyers representing one side or another are called to attention. I personally have never been offended by the prayers of devout believers whether they conduct those prayers in private or public.

Prayer is for those who need help through faith. Prayer is generally intended for good, and while we have heard the horror stories about cults drawing the devout into disreputable activities, I doubt our leaders in government have any such intention by offering prayer at the beginning of each public meeting. I, and many of my neighbors, believe those prayers create a sense of honesty and integrity. I have never felt that the prayers of others are an assault on my values or beliefs, and I don’t believe that it is wrong to express those beliefs as a matter of free speech.

I am fortunate to live in a community where prayer is common and necessary. My community believes there are ways to affect change without controversy or media scrutiny, and that way is through prayer."

Get the Story:
Lynne Harlan: Public prayer not intended to be offensive (The Asheville Citizen-Times 4/27)

Relevant Links:
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians - http://www.cherokee-nc.com
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, site 2 - http://www.nc-cherokee.com
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, unofficial - http://www.easternband.com

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