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Should they be pushing for non-denominational prayer in the congress....or no prayer at all?

Minnesota state congress having the fight this time around:

"A Jewish lawmaker is asking Minnesota Senate leaders to allow only nondenominational prayers to open sessions, after feeling "highly uncomfortable" when a Baptist pastor repeatedly mentioned Jesus Christ and Christianity in one of the invocations.

Democratic Sen. Terri Bonoff says she wants Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to change the letter submitted to all visiting chaplains to say they are "required," rather than "requested," to make prayers nondenominational.

"I'm a very religious woman and believe deeply in God," said Bonoff, of the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka. "We honor God in public and our political discourse, and that's proper. But in doing a nondenominational prayer we are honoring him without violating the separation of church and state.""



The majority leader is refusing, saying that as long as multiple religions are allowed a turn, the content of the prayer doesn't matter.  Does it matter?  Should a Baptist minister be allowed to stand before congress and pray that all the Jews in congress come to their senses and repent their evil life before it's too late, as long as a rabbi is given a turn to speak the following month?  Is it truly abiding the separation of church and state to allow denominational prayers in a government function at all?

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 10:22 AM on Mar. 17, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (29)
  • We, as a Nation, are a diverse group of people. All races, all religions, cultures & ways of life. Our Government is supposed to represent our WHOLE country, not just Christians. Prayer, itself, has no place in Congress, or politics of any kind. Yes, I'm Christian. But, that has NOTHING to do with the law-making of this country!

    Answer by specialwingz at 10:32 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • I don't believe so and I don't believe non-denominational prayer upholds the separation of church and state either. The only way that prayer is not a violation of the separation of church and state is if it does as a Moment of silence, where each person can pray on their own, or if there is no pray. Any prayer over the entire group led by a single person is endorsement of a religion or theological idea.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 10:33 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • – collapse
    No, it should not be banned or thrown out or done away with. We are too politically correct and people seem to wqorry about things that make no sense to cause such a stir. We have for so long done the Pledge of Allegiance in school, prayer and so forth. It was good enough for our ancesters who made their children learn the ways of America. We are not a new melting pot of various religions. They have been here for years and years. We just have gotten to ninnified.

    Answer by foreverb3 at 10:35 AM on Mar. 17, 2011 (hidden) + expand

  • if the content of the prayer doesnt matter than what is the freaking point?! there shouldnt be anything that can be deemed a prayer to any one specific God lead for all in a govt. setting. especially, if no one is even being bothering to pay attention to the actual words being about doing something for ALL the wrong reasons!

    i can just see the headlines if a visiting Rabbi pulled out "Christ was not your son or the Messiah" or "please help those who believe in Christ to come back to you"...not that i think most Rabbi's would be rude enough to do that.

    Answer by okmanders at 10:37 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • Personally, I think having any prayer at a government function is a violation of the First Amendment. I think moments of silence are fine though. That way those who want to pray can pray privately (and those who want to meditate or just have some time to have quiet reflection can do so too), but no single religion is being endorsed over others like it would with any individually led prayers. Not all religious people 'pray' and there are many non-religious people too, so having a 'non-denominational' prayer couldn't possibly represent everyone, which means one or more religions would be endorsed over others whatever type of group led prayer they choose.

    Answer by pam19 at 10:53 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • The pledge didn't even have the word God in it until 1954 and school led prayer during school hours was deemed Unconstitutional in 1962 (Engle vs Vitale) the American way IS a melting pot of democracy and not a theocracy. If you're having trouble understanding the two words, buy a dictionary.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 10:54 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • We are not a new melting pot of various religions.


    Yes, we are.

    Answer by pam19 at 10:55 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • A moment of silence would the best way to handle this situation. There is no good reason to include prayer in government, meetings, sporting events,etc. Insisting on a prayer can be a way to exclude individuals and groups . That is never a kind thing to do.

    Answer by minnesotanice at 10:58 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • I think it depends on what the Minnessota state constitution says about separation of Church and state.

    Answer by Anna92464 at 11:12 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • I think they should allow people time to pray to whatever God they believe in. What is it harming anyone? If someone is leading a prayer then maybe that would be protected or something since people seem very offended by God. But praying to themselves or giving a moment of prayer shouldnt be a problem.

    Answer by gemgem at 1:04 PM on Mar. 17, 2011

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