Senior Citizens Inc. officials said Friday the meals they are contracted by the city to provide to Ed Young visitors are mostly covered with federal money, which ushers in the burden of separating church and state.
On Thursday, the usual open prayer before meals at the center was traded in for a moment of silence.
Tim Rutherford, Senior Citizens Inc. vice president, said some of his staff recently visited the center and noticed people praying shortly before lunch was served. Rutherford said his company provides meals like baked chicken, steak tips and rice and salads at a cost of about $6 a plate. Seniors taking the meals pay 55 cents and federal money foots the rest of the bill, Rutherford said.
“We can’t scoff at their rules,” he said of federal authorities. “It’s a part of the operational guidelines.” Rutherford said the moment of silence was introduced to protect that funding. He said although the change may have been misinterpreted, perhaps his company could have done a better job selling it.
If the organization is not leading in the prayer, but is leading in the SILENCE, by insisting people stop praying ~does this force a religious requirement of silence? Could this be in violation of free speech as well as freedom of religious observation? Shouldn't people be allowed to pray out loud on their own?
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