On Monday, September 21, Coolidge, Ariz. voted on a highly controversial issue: whether or not to limit the prayer before a city council meeting to only Christian prayer. The proposal was unanimously shot down.
When Councilman Rob Hudelson, a pastor for a local Baptist church, brought the topic forth on September 14, the topic was passed into a proposal by a 4 – 2 vote. What happened in one week that a topic, which was once popular, would be unanimously rejected?
Many argued that it was a direct violation of First Amendment rights. The violation in question: If regulating the prayer before a city council meeting is preventing the residents of Coolidge from exercising their freedom of religion? It is quite the opposite.
It is the city council members exercising their own freedom of religion. There is no portion of the First Amendment that speaks specifically towards citizens and that only citizens can exercise this right.
Everyone, everywhere should be allowed to use this right and should not be hindered because they serve on a city council. The First Amendment is clear about not limiting in any fashion who can freely express their religion and who can’t. City council members need to be able to express their own First Amendment rights.
Another argument is that this prevents the separation between church and state. There is nothing in the constitution about such a separation. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court issued a ruling from a group of letters that this divide between church and state came about.
A strict following of separation between church and state would mean a huge change in our country. The Pledge of Allegiance would not be allowed in any government building, or would have to be rewritten. Money would have to be reprinted and it would restrict who could serve in government.
Pastors should not have the option of serving on city councils in this strict version. It could be argued that they would use prayer as a means shape their decisions, yet, hundreds of pastors serve on small city councils all over the nation.
This nation was founded on Christian values. That is why God has been incorporated in so many portions of this great country. Christian prayer has been apart of the United States since it was a group of colonies. It is logical for city council meetings to hold a small Christian prayer before the meetings.