Technically Correct

   Recently I have written about the law suit being brought against the Sussex County Council, charging that the council had somehow violated the so-called “separation of church and state”. The suit charges that the practice of saying the Lord’s prayer , rises to the establishment of a state religion. Thus violating the First Amendment of the Constitution.

   Personally I did not feel that it established a state religion. My concern was more that the council was  actually prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That is unless, the council were to allow others to express their faith during the meeting as well.

  The real point of contention was whether or not the members of the council were acting as a body of government at the time the prayer was being said. If so, then I felt that the council was in danger of crossing a line. I do not want my government in charge of my faith in any way, shape or form.

  Just today I have gone through the  County Council’s on-line archives of their agendas and minutes.

   After going through the archives, I find that this “long-held tradition”, in past years, according to the minutes, was not practiced at every meeting. It would seem as if it might have depended on who the council president was at the time.

  What I did find in 2009, were several examples of the meeting being called to order before the invocation. Councilman Phillips was the president at the time. I also found example of the invocation being said before the meeting was called to order. Again with Mr. Phillips  as president.

  It seems as if there was no set policy before mid 2009. But from mid 2009 on, it seems as if the prayer is being said before the meeting is called to order. This includes 2010 and 2011 to present.

  In earlier writings on this issue, I wrote that the group bringing the suit against the council had a good case. In light of the information I have presented here, I would have to say that technically, the council is not acting as a body of government at the time of the prayer, since the meeting has not been called to order. This means that they are just citizens and are afforded the individual freedoms that the rest of us are.

 I will now admit that I allowed my personal views about faith to cloud my opinion on this issue. Because I see faith as a deeply personal act,and this will never change, I may have over reacted in protecting my freedom and that of others. My intentions were always to uphold the Constitution and the freedoms therein.   My intentions were never to attack any of the council members personally.  While I still feel that my arguments were well founded, in this particular case, they were mis-placed.

 My apologies to any and all who I may have offended. I would also like to thank those who I have discussed this with, for being able to discuss the issue without making it personal. Thank you.


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