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May 6, 2014

Ceremonial Pleas, So Be It

Harry M. Covert

Prayer before governmental deliberations is good. Prayer before sporting events is worthy. Prayer is praiseworthy and necessary before travel on “aeroplanes,” ocean liners and ferries, and before courtroom proceedings. The medical fraternity, physicians and nurses, dentists, chiropractors and even veterinarians agree that Divine appeals are effective.


Prayer is now okay, legal and proper everywhere in public and private schools, and so forth and et cetera.


Moments of silence may be nice for that minority of the citizenry which delights in causing angst among those who believe that the Almighty is involved in all affairs. What does a moment of silence truly refer? There are certainly lots of prayers in schools by students in all grades, most especially before tests and examinations.


Once, a national gangster was asked if he wanted justice in his federal corruption trial. “No, for Heaven’s sake, I want mercy.”


In this day and age voices have become louder and louder. The loudness doesn’t include the vast majority of the faithful around the country that public prayers violate the alleged constitutional separation of church and state. Most people of good character are inhibited and intimidated by opposers. It is good and positive that legislative bodies seek heavenly help. Such petitions don’t hurt in any way and can have good results from the leaders.


Seeing, reading and listening to the antics of political leaders in all jurisdictions, there is no question prayer is important. It is simple. If non-believers and good citizens of no faith object to hearing prayers, let them keep quiet while others are petitioning. When it comes to taxes, prayer is vital. Watching the U.S. Congress sends many to prayer.


Public prayers are now considered “ceremonial.” That’s a nice word and should soothe a bunch of objectors who merely want a little public attention.


In Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court of the land, it was confirmed by a 5-to-4 vote that the nation was founded on precepts far beyond the authority of government to alter or define. That majority opinion was penned by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. What’s so new about that? Most school children have learned that, but it sure was good to know that the work of the Founders is still true in the 21st century.


The case was brought to the fore by a Greece, New York woman. Her complaint was the sectarian content of the prayers, mostly from Christian pastors. What a shock that must have been?


As the people of the city and county of Frederick and the State of Maryland prepare to elect decision makers, prayer should be the first order of the day. Heaven help us, too. This is not a joke.


Now that Mr. Justice Kennedy, a practicing Catholic, has had the final word, maybe pre-game prayers will resume on Friday nights. Maybe pre-meeting pleas will be scheduled at county council, county commissioners, board of aldermen and the school board.


There are lots of various churches of all persuasions hereabouts. When they hear words like “Jesus Christ” when disagreements arise and see signs in various public places, “In God We Trust, all others pay cash,” they will be in respectful tones. No such things as “expletive deleted.”


There is a saying, “avoid vain and profane babblings.”


Imagine, the president of the Board of Commissioners and his colleagues ending the often volatile sessions in Frederick or Monrovia with “Good night, and God bless you all.”


Amen! Or, if preferred, “So be it.”


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