I had a brief chuckle this morning when I heard on the radio that the Houston city council is being sued because their prayers are "too religious". I wondered what kind of non-religious prayers there are. To whom do atheists pray?
Seems the radio station botched the wording a bit, and the real claim is that the prayers are "too Christian". Kay Staley has sued the city (and specifically named council member Anne Clutterbuck). Staley says the prayers are too Christian and that they violate the First Amendment. Anne Clutterbuck was singled out because she quoted the Lord's Prayer.
To add to my chuckle, I found Staley is offended by watching this on TV: "I've been aggravated about it for some time watching City Council on access television." Watching city council on TV would probably aggravate me too. But instead of changing channels, she sues! This possibly is a dual purpose suit -- on the one hand to oppose Christianity and on the other (bigger hand) to grab a little publicity for the sewer (uh, I mean, sue-er; how do you spell that?). I mean, pu-leeze; Staley said, "I'm offended. I don't like people telling me when and how to pray." No one is telling her how to pray, or even that she has to pray. Furthermore, this person who doesn't want the council praying to Jesus says she is offended "because the praying goes against the teaching of Jesus. Heavily quoting the Bible, the lawsuit argues Jesus taught praying was not to be flaunted in public but to be done in private." Come on, Kay, why do you want these public officials to follow the teachings of Jesus? Isn't there some kind of hypocrisy there in your own thinking? If you believe prayers at city councils and other government functions are unconstitutional just say that and leave off the other mumbo-jumbo.
I could care less whether the members of the Houston city council have prayer at their meetings. It's not a religious gathering, and I'm not really all that keen on things that politicans may be doing just for show. But they are grown people who can pray if they want to. If they're mostly Christians, then the prayers will be mostly Christian (there have been some prayers of Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths). If there is a council member of another faith, Christians should not complain if he or she prays according to his or her faith. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld prayer at government meetings, but also say it must not promote any particular religion. If people simply pray according to their own beliefs, are they then promoting a particular religion? Or are they just praying?
Poor Clutterbuck -- she has "worked hard not to invoke a particular deity". The lawsuit contains transcripts that show she "never invoked a particular deity's name and one time read from Abraham Lincoln". And yet she gets special mention in the lawsuit above all the other council members!
Courthouse Bible plaintiff now targets Houston council prayer by Mary Flood
"Every prayer is an acknowledgement of our weakness and dependence . Who would ask that of another which he thinketh to be in his own power?" -- Thomas Manton