Do you remember where you were the first time you heard President Barack Obama say a prayer in public? I remember distinctly that President Obama was present at the prayer breakfast, where Dr. Ben Carson spoke. In fact, I’ll admit to you that I’ve watched that particular prayer breakfast numerous times.
While it may not have been his first time to invoke scriptures from the bible into a speech, I do remember during the Newtown Connecticut tragedy, President Obama spoke words directly from the bible. Yes, to comfort the suffering community and family members he spoke from the bible.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of an upstate New York Town council that had been using prayer at the opening of their meetings.
Here is what Justice Anthony Kennedy had to say:
“Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government.”
You may also remember that God played a very large role here in Homer in flooding three homes with sewage. Yes, the Homer City Council went right along with a theory that stated the failed city sewer system wasn’t to blame, nor was a manhole in a drainage creek bed. No, it was an “Act of God.” And yet, this same city council rejected a resolution brought forward by Councilman Bryan Zak that would have allowed council meetings to be opened with a prayer.
Councilwoman Barbara Howard suggested that, having once herself been a city clerk, she didn’t want to burden our clerk’s office or any department with more duties without a plan. Too bad that wasn’t the prevailing thought when Councilwoman Howard breathed life into the Citizens Academy.
Councilman Beau Burgess went on a diatribe against the idea that lasted perhaps only a minute or two, but felt like eternity. And Councilman David Lewis said if there was to be Christian prayer, then we need to invite the Wiccans as well.
Ultimately, the original resolution was morphed into a moment of silence, and then ultimately even that failed 5-1. In fairness to Councilman Gus VanDyke, it should be noted that he voted against the final version of the resolution because it was not what the original intent was. “Prayer is what we need.”
Is this an example of hypocrisy? How can you, at once, accept an easy out by blaming God for a sewer failure of biblical proportion, and then not invite Him into the council chamber? How can you ask for an increase in your council pay, and then not notice the that federal reserve notes say, “In God We Trust?”
Each council meeting is opened with the pledge of allegiance, but you will note that the room does not fall silent upon the words, “One nation, under God.”
And did you know that George Washington kissed the bible after he swore his oath of office?
You have now learned that the $330,000 (+/-) surplus has mysteriously vanished due to accounting errors; the City – after more than a year – finally accepted responsibility for flooding three homes with sewage and settled out of court. And, we are right on track to spend $300,000 (+/-) designing a new safety building that we may not get funding for from the state; not to mention our ability to pay for the increased cost of operations.
Yes, it might well be time to bow our heads and say a prayer. Mine would go like this: “Dear God, please let each and every individual find their voice, stand for what is right and do what is right — even in the face of adversity. Amen.”
Chris Story is a lifelong Alaskan, and broker and owner of Story Real Estate. He is also host of “Alaska Matters Radio,” heard Tuesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on KPEN.
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