For a long time, public prayer opponents have misinterpreted our freedom of religion guarantee. Freedom of religion does not require us to be a godless country.
Our founding fathers placed “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” in the close to the Declaration of Independence. As Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out, the very first Congress supported prayers at the start of legislative sessions. As Kennedy wrote, legislative prayer is a “practice that was accepted by the framers and has withstood the critical scrutiny of time and political change.”
Of course, the opening prayers must be open to all forms of religion. Greece officials invited all faiths, and atheists as well, to give the opening prayer. No one should ever be restricted regarding their religious beliefs.
Banning religious expression does not make us a stronger nation. The power of prayer should not be underestimated and having less of it is not something I see as beneficial to our society.
The writer is a former Town Board member in upstate NY.