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Mark Mahoney's Speak Out
by Mark Mahoney

Speak Out

A Daily Gazette opinion blog
Share your views on the issues with Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney.

Speak out on prayer during gov't meetings

The Supreme Court last week allowed a government board in Greece, NY, to offer prayers before meetings. The ruling, Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway (12-696), supported the Town Council's invitation to allow convocations. The prayers were challenged by two women -- one Jewish, one who doesn't believe in God -- who said they felt uncomfortable with the largely Christian-themed prayers. They were open to more general prayers that didn't evoke a particular religion. But the courts said the government board wasn't endorsing a particular religion, and therefore wasn't violating the Establishment Clause of the Constitution that prohibits that.
"The town of Greece does not violate the First Amendment by opening its meetings with prayer that comports with our tradition," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his ruling. "and does not coerce participation by nonadherents."
Do you agree? I used to cover Washington County board meetings, which traditionally began with the White Creek supervisor telling a story that ended with a religious reference and thanks to God. I was uncomfortable with it, whether it agreed with my religious beliefs or not.
So what do you think?
Should prayers be allowed? Are they necessary for a government to do business? Are people making much ado about nothing? Speak out by commenting here or by emailing me at

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May 25, 2014
11:06 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I am confused by aethiests who are offended at the mention of God. They deny the existence of God, so how can they be offended by something which does not exist? Just ignore it and move on.

September 2, 2014
5:29 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Why aren't Mohawk prayers being used - they are the original inhabitants.

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