Bernard Drumm 0

Abolish Prayer at Sparks, NV City Council Meetings

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On January 13th 2015, the city of Sparks NV, opened their city council meeting with a Hindu prayer.

The Secular Student Alliance deems it inappropriate for public officials in a tax paid position to open a meeting concerningall residentsof Sparks NV with a prayer. Government officials are free to pray in their own homes if they choose. However, these officials have all taken oaths to uphold a secular constitution in this government and thus prayer in government in any capacity is inappropriate.

This action of prayer at Spark City Council meeting is also discriminatory to non-believers. Government officials are paid for by taxes brought in from all residents including those of no faith. These officials are paid to spend their time working for all residents regardless of their religious belief. When a city council lends its valuable time and resources to committing to prayer, it amounts to an endorsement of a religious viewpoint and exclude more than one-fifth of the population of theUnited States. Beginning a city council meeting with prayer excludeshundredsof Sparks residents from the affair and alienates them from their local government.

This is also true of non-believing Sparks officials at this meeting. While their have been no reports of coercion to pray, one must not be put in a position that by choosing to exclude oneself from a prayer due to a private belief may lead to negative viewpoints from fellow officials and the alienation of that official from the open proceedings of a city council meeting.

Observing a strict separation of church and state will offend no one and include all citizens.

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