Whidbey News-Times


Moment of silence more appropriate | Letter

June 16, 2013 · Updated 4:07 PM


I was going to pass on commenting about prayer at the Island County commissioner meetings.

I was gratified when its members came to the right decision and avoided it.

The GOP has branded itself Christian, and Democrats as morally bankrupt, so it didn’t surprise me when Kelly Emerson wanted to start meetings with a prayer.

I also wasn’t surprised when William Burnett slammed Helen Price Johnson.

How dare she, a Democrat, bring Jesus’ words into a debate on Christian prayer?

I was surprised by Jill Johnson’s honesty, but not her intolerance — that she wouldn’t be comfortable hearing prayer from other religions and projecting her intolerance onto them.

I’m not sure what Price Johnson’s disregard of the facts was.

Matthew 6:5-6 is purported to be the words of Jesus admonishing followers to keep prayer private. Section 11 of Washington state’s constitution is pretty clear: “No public property shall be appropriated for any religious exercise” — I’ve paraphrased for clarity using the key words.

The Washington State House of Representative does offer opening prayer in an inclusive way that makes it somewhat acceptable.

Ever classy, Republicans made it political and walked out when an Islamic imam offered the prayer.

A Republican initiated this prayer kerfuffle so it’s safe to assume we’re talking about Christian prayer to The One True God. No need to muddy the waters with other religious texts.

Therein lies the problem with religion in schools and government, how to be inclusive for all.

It’s really more trouble than it’s worth.

I’d bet that the Supreme Court and atheists could get behind a moment of silence, at least until the GOP tried to put a Christian God brand on it.

If we keep religious prayer out of public schools and government Mr. Burnett and I won’t find it necessary to write these letters.

Walt Mistler

Oak Harbor

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