Poll: Prayer in City Council?
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View poll results: Prayer in City Council?
It's theocratic tyranny!
59 55%
Meh.
25 23%
Let them pray.
24 22%
Voters: 108.
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#1
Hello UG. A few months ago, there was a bit of hub-bub in my hometown about prayer in city council. Every meeting was lead off by a Christian prayer, and no one had any problem with it until recently. One of the three councilmen is a local pastor at a church where they speak in tongues.

Yet another local government body is trying to insist that it has the authority to promote and endorse the religion of some citizens over the religions of other citizens. The Yakima City Council has for many years had Christian prayers as an official part of its meetings. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint recently but the mayor is absolutely convinced that his election as a civil official grants him the religious authority to decide which prayers are endorsed by the government.

http://atheism.about.com/b/2011/01/03/yakima-city-council-fights-for-right-to-promote-christianity.htm

Quote by Mayor of Yakima, Micah Cawley
“If a council member said, ‘I don’t want to pray,’ I would have to take issue with that."

Here's a view from the other side, so I'm not being totally biased:

Invoking the name of Jesus Christ and God in public meetings has been a tradition in the United States since the Pilgrims landed. The aid of Providence was invoked at Continental Congress during the Declaration of Independence, during the Constitution debates, etc., etc., etc. Our founders understood that we could not make the decisions we needed to based on human reason alone, we needed the aid of God's wisdom. Since then it has been a time honored tradition.

By attempting to take away the right of public prayer, you would be replacing the religion of Christianity with the religion of secular humanism. Man is a religious being, he must worship. If He does not seek the counsel of God, He will make himself god and function out of his own wisdom. Given the total depravity of man, I do not trust in his wisdom alone.

Let them pray.

http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2011/2/1/city-council-likes-prayer-model
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/01/03/1312228/complaint-throws-yakimas-council.html

These articles are a few months old, as the issue kind of fizzled away. However, buzz is starting up again within the city. My city isn't terribly big, but it is definitely medium-sized. It's the county seat, etc.

Anyways, my question is, do you guys think it's ethical for the city to do this? Regardless of religious association, mind. My Christian friend thinks this is retarded, while my agnostic brother doesn't see a problem with it.

tl;dr: Yakima City Council is praying in the beginning of every council meeting, on tax dollar. This is essentially seen as the city endorsing Christianity and making it 'superior' to other religions.
Last edited by due 07 at May 13, 2011,
#3
I voted meh.

I don't like it but so long as it isn't forced I don't see why not. It would have to be individuals choosing to pray as a group instead of part of the council meeting. If it was part of the council I would prefer it stopped.
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#4
Let them pray if they want.

So long as they don't push it on anyone that doesn't want to.
#5
Wait, there are thought police now?

Because if not, they can't genuinely force you to pray. Just like they can't force you not to. Legislation either way is stupid. We can't hear inside someone's head and hear whether or not they're saying out a prayer or not.

Hell, I'm not particularly religious, and even if I were, I'm not christian, and my history teacher has a moment of silent prayer before class. Not only does it not bother me, but I like it - It gives me a quick break where everyone's quiet to relax, collect my thoughts, and prepare for the learnening.

So yeah, I voted "meh". It's not really something you can effectively enforce, as even if you have vocal reciting of prayers, empty words are empty words, and if it makes people comfortable, I don't really see the big issue.
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#7
Quote by necrosis1193
Wait, there are thought police now?

Because if not, they can't genuinely force you to pray. Just like they can't force you not to. Legislation either way is stupid. We can't hear inside someone's head and hear whether or not they're saying out a prayer or not.

Hell, I'm not particularly religious, and even if I were, I'm not christian, and my history teacher has a moment of silent prayer before class. Not only does it not bother me, but I like it - It gives me a quick break where everyone's quiet to relax, collect my thoughts, and prepare for the learnening.

So yeah, I voted "meh". It's not really something you can effectively enforce, as even if you have vocal reciting of prayers, empty words are empty words, and if it makes people comfortable, I don't really see the big issue.


There wouldn't be a problem (as much) if it was silent prayer. The problem is that the gov't is endorsing Christianity.
#9
Quote by due 07
There wouldn't be a problem (as much) if it was silent prayer. The problem is that the gov't is endorsing Christianity.

Yea, I don't like that. If it was individuals acting independently beforehand it wouldn't be a big deal. If it is part of the council meeting then it needs to stop. Like if they consider it to be part of the process or if it's a coincidental thing. I don't like when government officials insert religion anywhere because that's how my home town is.
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#10
Quote by G.Krizzel
No joke-poll-option???



the third option is the joke option, obviously.

Yakima is a terrible town anyway. there was one time on iCarly when their grandpa wanted her to move there, but she didn't want to cause Yakima is awful.
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#11
You shouldn't force other to take part in your act of belief and faith. Keep the praying at home and in your religious institutional building.

This is coming from a Christian.
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#13
Quote by sfaune92
You shouldn't force other to take part in your act of belief and faith. Keep the praying at home and in your religious institutional building.

This is coming from a Christian.


#14
Quote by djentdjent
Seperation of Church and State anyone?


Lets get this out of the way first. Separation is a Jeffersonian idea, as opposed to a constitutionality issue. I don't mind if, as a group of people rather than a governmental body, they would like to take a moment of prayer. Its a non-issue if they're not forced.
#15
I think it's funny how the poll is leading with It's theocratic tyranny!, yet everyone who has posted has voted meh.
#16
meh, if it's a tradition then they may as well keep it. I'm starting to wonder whether these are actually at the official start of a meeting or a prayer before they actually start the meeting. Because the latter really doesn't matter to the taxpayer if the council meetings are being paid with tax money.
I don't see what all the fuss is about. If other council members have the option of declining to pray, then that's fine, no need to get rid of it all together because a few people feel uncomfortable.
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#17
Why is this such a big deal? I guess if you look at the right angle, it could be viewed as endorsing religion, but I personally don't think it's doing any harm. I understand the right to belief in whatever you want, but do any atheists honestly think that their rights and beliefs are being invaded? Is it that offensive? Somebody tell me, what is the worst that could possibly happen as a direct cause of a pre-meeting declinable Christian (or any religion for that matter) prayer?

Sorry for stirring this issue up, but it sounds like an "issue" that's not really an issue, and more like people fishing for something to complain about.

...IMHO
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Last edited by bingeandletgo at May 13, 2011,
#18
Government endorsing a particular religion? No thank you.

Also, ****ing lol at that quote.
#19
Quote by bingeandletgo
Why is this such a big deal? I guess if you look at the right angle, it could be viewed as endorsing religion, but I personally don't think it's doing any harm. I understand the right to belief in whatever you want, but do any atheists honestly think that their rights and beliefs are being invaded? Is it that offensive? Somebody tell me, what is the worst that could possibly happen as a direct cause of a pre-meeting declinable Christian (or any religion for that matter) prayer?

Sorry for stirring this issue up, but it sounds like an "issue" that's not really an issue, and more like people fishing for something to complain about.

...IMHO


The issue is that it's wildly unethical for a country to say "Christianity is right, your religion is wrong. This is the only one we acknowledge."
#20
Quote by bingeandletgo
Why is this such a big deal? I guess if you look at the right angle, it could be viewed as endorsing religion, but I personally don't think it's doing any harm. I understand the right to belief in whatever you want, but do any atheists honestly think that their rights and beliefs are being invaded? Is it that offensive? Somebody tell me, what is the worst that could possibly happen as a direct cause of a pre-meeting declinable Christian (or any religion for that matter) prayer?

Sorry for stirring this issue up, but it sounds like an "issue" that's not really an issue, and more like people fishing for something to complain about.

...IMHO



“If a council member said, ‘I don’t want to pray,’ I would have to take issue with that."
That is from one of the members and they're being paid during this time. Tax payers give money to fix problems, not talk to God.

So it isn't pre-meeting and apparently it's hard to decline. So yes, it is offensive to a degree.

I don't mind what they're doing, just how they're doing it.
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#21
Whats wrong with a little prayer? Some people exaggerate over such issues...
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#22
Quote by :Vicious--
Whats wrong with a little prayer? Some people exaggerate over such issues...

The government is paying them to do it.
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#23
Quote by BladeSlinger
The government is paying them to do it.



The government is paying them for their time, not to pray. The government isn't mandating that they pray at the beginning of their meeting, they just do. I feel its important to make that distinction.
#25
Quote by :Vicious--
Whats wrong with a little prayer? Some people exaggerate over such issues...


You can't remove the prayer from it's context. I hope you would know what is wrong with prayer in a government meeting, though.
#27
Quote by L2112Lif
Nothing, if the attendees don't object. Everything if they do.

They're being paid to discuss city matters and nothing else. If they pray as a group then start the clock, that's fine by me. One of members stated he would have a problem if someone didn't want to pray.

If the government is paying a group to govern a city, they are paying them for the governing action and nothing more. It wouldn't matter if they were praying for having a ****ing juggling competition, they are being paid to do one thing and that is govern.

And endorsing religion in government period is frowned upon by the higher up.
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#28
Quote by BladeSlinger
That is from one of the members and they're being paid during this time. Tax payers give money to fix problems, not talk to God.

So it isn't pre-meeting and apparently it's hard to decline. So yes, it is offensive to a degree.

I don't mind what they're doing, just how they're doing it.




That is so funny, because I read that man's quote as "I wouldn't take issue with that". Changes the whole story. I take back what I say. People should be able to decline. Of course, if it WAS declinable, I would keep my argument. I can't see the prayer being long enough to waste money.
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Last edited by bingeandletgo at May 13, 2011,
#29
Quote by bingeandletgo


That is so funny, because I read that man's quote as "I wouldn't take issue with that". Changes the whole story. I take back what I say. People should be able to decline. Of course, if it WAS declinable, I would keep my argument.

It helps to read things correctly the first time.
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#30
Quote by bingeandletgo


That is so funny, because I read that man's quote as "I wouldn't take issue with that". Changes the whole story. I take back what I say. People should be able to decline. Of course, if it WAS declinable, I would keep my argument. I can't see the prayer being long enough to waste money.


Even so, the state has no right to endorse one religion over another, which this is doing. We aren't called Yakistan/Yakighanistan for nothing
#31
Quote by BladeSlinger
They're being paid to discuss city matters and nothing else. If they pray as a group then start the clock, that's fine by me. One of members stated he would have a problem if someone didn't want to pray.

If the government is paying a group to govern a city, they are paying them for the governing action and nothing more. It wouldn't matter if they were praying for having a ****ing juggling competition, they are being paid to do one thing and that is govern.

And endorsing religion in government period is frowned upon by the higher up.



If he's got a problem with it, then he should suck it up.
#32
If they want to pray, that's entirely their right. But they shouldn't be doing it at cost to the taxpayer. That's all. And nobody should be forced to pray. I think it will act divisively.
#33
In a world where you're not allowed to say nigger when there are black people around, then you shouldn't be allowed to impose your religion on someone who doesn't follow it.

To go with that, prayer is boring and I find it distasteful and a complete waste of time. Pray in your own time, with people who might give a shit rather than force it on me and waste my time
I hope it doesn't seem, like I'm young, foolish, and green.
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Last edited by BlackLuster at May 13, 2011,
#34
Gotta love the place I'm from. Yakima needs to be done away with.
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#35
Quote by L2112Lif
Lets get this out of the way first. Separation is a Jeffersonian idea, as opposed to a constitutionality issue. I don't mind if, as a group of people rather than a governmental body, they would like to take a moment of prayer. Its a non-issue if they're not forced.


According to the Supreme Court, it is a constitutional issue.
#36
Quote by DimebagLivesOn
Gotta love the place I'm from. Yakima needs to be done away with.


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#37
This is complete bullshit. A government figure should not be able to impose their beliefs on anyone. What makes it worse is the fact that the bastard says that he actually has a problem with people choosing to not take part in the prayers.
I can understand praying at home if you believe in it, or at church, but there's no reason that prayers should be done in a government meeting where the tax payers are paying for these people to sit on their asses and pray.

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#38
If they're going to pray to God, why don't they just disband the government and let him run, unaided, without a human being in a seat of power? If God can not do this, than God should not be invoked during government business.
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#39
*Sigh* And this is exactly why I hate all the left wing angsty teenagers in the Pit. They take offense to the slightest things involving the public display of religion...
I pride myself on my humility.
#40
They might as well pray anyway, because that'll get the same amount of shit done as if they weren't. At least this way they can ask for Jesus's help, which is at least marginally more productive.

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