No invocation at city meetings
November 24, 2010
To the editor,
I don’t know why so many government leaders have forgotten that the people who founded our country believed separation of church and state is essential to our form of government. After a recent prayerful invocation prior to a city council meeting, a couple of residents questioned the practice, and the Island Reporter has suggested a solution might be a rotating schedule of leaders of all faiths to deliver the invocation.
Extending an invitation to members of all religious faiths might give an illusion of fairness but it would not achieve separation of church and state. Nor would it take into account the presence of atheists and agnostics in our city. What’s more, even if Sanibel did invite (and would they?) the religions some people think of as cults, such as Scientology and Wicca, that would still be mixing religion with government.
There should be no invocation prior to any city meetings. If council members want to start the meeting with something spiritual, why not take turns sharing a moment of non-religious inspiration such as a quotation from a statesman or a naturalist? City Hall is not the place for prayer... unless someone is silently praying for a motion to adjourn.