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Seniors Told They Can't Pray Before Meals

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the pay-to-pray dept.

Government 179

Seniors at the Ed Young Senior Citizens Center near Savannah, GA, have been told they can't pray before meals anymore out of fear of losing federal money for meals. From the article: "But Senior Citizens Inc. officials said Friday the meals they are contracted by the city to provide to Ed Young visitors are mostly covered with federal money, which ushers in the burden of separating church and state. On Thursday, the usual open prayer before meals at the center was traded in for a moment of silence."

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Who the hell is "samzenpus"... (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32171258)


...and how the hell did this make it past Taco?

Or maybe the idea is that we are supposed to cheer this development?

Or maybe Temple Beth El was leading the prayers, and that's why we're supposed to be in mourning?

FFS (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32171872)

More useless tripe from people who have no understanding of anything.

Look, nobody is saying you can't pray. The only issue, if there really even is an issue, is that the organization can't lead the prayer. Individuals can do whatever the hell they want, and they can even organize and pray collectively. But the institution has to stay out of it.

Re:FFS (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32172472)

Until one of the participants objects, I don't see what the fucking problem is. Ask everybody if they consent to participating in the prayer. If everyone consents, then the government should stay out of it. If someone does object, then you need to find a procedure that doesn't make them feel like they are being coerced into joining in.

Re:FFS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173944)

Forcing people to publicly either consent or not consent places people in just as awkward a position. Would you really want to be the person that raises their hand and says "yes I have a problem with the prayer"? I'm calling reactionary bullshit on this anyway, but even if it's true, people are more than welcome to pray on their own.

Re:FFS (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174230)

If the majority of the people would like to have someone say a prayer, out loud, I see nothing wrong with that. The people who do not want to participate in the prayer can sit quietly for a few seconds out of respect for the people who do want to participate (by bowing their heads, closing their eyes, folding their hands, or whatever). It’s no more than I would do if I went to, say, a Mormon funeral, and they had a Mormon prayer. If the majority of the people want to have a prayer, the rest should be respectful of that.

If your religion (or lack of religion) will not permit you to even listen to me pray, nor will it allow you to respectfully avoid making a disruption that prevents me from praying or distracts people who want to listen to my prayer, then your beliefs are intolerant of mine, not vice versa.

In fact, that goes for any public setting... not just a prayer. If the majority of the people want a couple of troublemakers to shut up and be quiet so that they can hear the person who is talking, their right to hear the speaker should overrule those few people’s right to be noisy and disruptive.

Re:FFS (2, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174686)

Unfortunately, the non-Constitutional separation of Church and State is now interpreted to mean a Constitutional endorsement of atheism.

Re:FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32178234)

Where do you get the idea that the separation of church and state is non-constitutional? Or did you mean to say that if you ruled on constitutional questions and not the supreme court, then you'd interpret the first amendment differently?

Re:FFS (2, Interesting)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32178674)

Separation of church and state does not exist in the Constitution. It is a catchphrase created to push an agenda rather than to describe what is actually written.

Re:FFS (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179934)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

There is no stronger language in the constitution than SHALL MAKE NO LAW. Just because the specific words "separation of church and state" are not specifically spelled out does not mean that they are not expressed. It is entirely inappropriate for state organizations to forbid, coerce or lead a prayer in any capacity. It doesn't matter if it is to Jerry Fallwell, Christ, Allah, Yahweh, the reptilian space pope or the flying spaghetti monster.

Re: Doesn't follow from the words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181348)

What you say doesn't follow from the words at all.

If a neighbourhood or group of people is 100% devout Christian, and a state-funded group activity leader who is hired from amongst them is also a Christian, would the Founding Fathers have intended that he be banned from speaking a word about prayers?

That seems to go beyond the words, and I cannot imagine that they would have held that view. Are there contemporary examples of this happening? If there are no contemporary examples to be found at all it would be strange if they felt this so strongly that they took it to be granted as implicit in the wording.

Re:FFS (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181910)

What about prohibiting the exercise thereof? The original intent behind the "no law respecting an establishment of religion" was to prevent the federal government from founding its own church (individual states already had theirs). Religion and government were not intended to be split as decisively as they are now. There were to be merely let loose to survive on their own as the people willed.
Its interesting that you state "entirely inappropriate for state organizations to forbid" when that is all they really do anymore. Here we have a group that has been doing voluntary prayers for a while. Now they are being forbidden because they might offend the minority. What about the minority offending them? The law has been interpreted to mean that there can be no semblance of a prayer on government property, even outlawing voluntary prayer meetings at the flagpole on schools. If the majority of the people in a group want to pray a particular way at any given time at any given place, its up to the minority to either leave or stay silent. That's democracy and that is what the Constitution intended.

Re:FFS (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183130)

Blasphemy! I worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster you insensitive clod. Please offer the same respect of capitalization as you do those who worship Jerry Fallwell.

Re:FFS (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184584)

The Constitution features two Amendments within the Bill of Rights, known as Amendment 1 and Amendment 6, which respectively prohibit any laws respecting the establishment of religion or laws restricting the free exercise of religion, and prohibit tests of religion as qualification for public offices or roles.

Since an agreement to form the Bill of Rights was necessary and essential to gain ratification of the Constitution, and the Bill is generally included within the meaning of the Constitution, I'd say it's safe to say that there is a Constitutional separation of church and state.

I'm not sure what you think that phrase means, but it seems pretty clear that the Constitution doesn't want the government messing with religion, nor religion messing with the government.

If you want the phases from the Constitution expounded upon further, there are lots of other writings by the guys who wrote them that clarify their views.

But don't pretend that this is all some mythical liberal conspiracy by talking about people pushing an "agenda".

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188914)

I'm not sure what you think that phrase means, but it seems pretty clear that the Constitution doesn't want the government messing with religion, nor religion messing with the government.

I think it means that the government shouldn’t be telling people whether or not they can pray, nor where they are or aren’t allowed to do it.

Re:FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181994)

Unfortunately, the non-Constitutional separation of Church and State is now interpreted to mean a Constitutional endorsement of atheism.

Only by people who can't see reality because of Glenn Beck's teabag hanging over their eyes. This is another retarded PR stunt to remind the Christard base that the President is an evil Nazi socialist Mooslem, so they remember to vote for the party that sent their jobs to India.

Re:FFS (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32175542)

If the majority of the people want a couple of troublemakers to shut up and be quiet so that they can hear the person who is talking, their right to hear the speaker should overrule those few people's right to be noisy and disruptive. Unless, of course, the interrupting asshat is a member of the House of Representatives [huffingtonpost.com] , in which case he has a right to do whatever he wants.

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32176792)

I’m willing to concede that it was rude and inappropriate of him to interrupt if you’re willing to concede that blindly swallowing anything Obama says is practically like a religion. :p

Re:FFS (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183538)

Blindly accepting everything that _anyone_ says is a mistake. The Dalai Lama says you shouldn't even believe what he says, unless it makes sense to you based on your own experience. Obama is a thoughtful and articulate man, but like every man he is still capable of making mistakes. Hopefully he has enough foresight to avoid epic fuckups on the scale of his predecessor!

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183734)

Well... he did utter some pretty good ones on the campaign trail, and his Vice President hardly disappoints when it comes to frequency and hilarity of gaffes.

I do, however, agree with your first statement: Blindly accepting everything that anyone says is a mistake.

No! (3, Insightful)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179290)

Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. Majority rules is not good enough in this case. If anyone objects then it does not happen or happens elsewhere.

You don't even get into the possible conflicts, muslim prayer, christian, hindu... Which one or each one by one?

I do not have any 'lack' of religion. What I 'lack' is the stupidity of having a religion. Do you normally go around telling people they are lacking something?

Do you even realise that you made a bigoted statement? When you accuse me of a 'lack' because I do not share your beliefs you get damn close to the very definition of bigotry. I'll bet you don't even see the need to apologise to an entire class of people whom you called deficient.

Re:No! (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179662)

In one breath you get all offensive because people accuse you of having a lack of something. A lack of something is not always bad. I for one, as far as I know, have a lack of cancer. Personally I've used the words "religion or lack thereof" in front of more atheists than I can count and I really don't think any took offense.

In the same breath you accuse all religion of being stupid.

Respect goes both ways.

I bet YOU don't even see the need to apologize to an entire class of people you called stupid.

Re:No! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185110)

Re:No! (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185460)

I do not have a double standard double standard. I do not like it when religious people badmouth atheists and can't accept any words against them. I do not like it when atheists in one breath accuse someone of insulting them with a rather innocent and factually correct word and also call all religious people stupid. I despise ALL double standards. I respect religious people and atheists who have respect for other people. Telling me that religious people often have double standards does not help your argument. I don't approve of that behavior and I don't approve of the behavior of atheists being hypocritical either. If everyone could have some goddamn respect and understanding...but this is /. *sigh*

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189060)

Having respect for people means telling them when they are wrong.

You are being disingenuous. You are pretending that the word 'lack' means something other than what it does mean.

Re:No! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182200)

Bullshit. Your freedom of religion does not give you the right to prevent other people from exercising their own.

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183220)

I have no problem with people exercising their own religion - on their own. They don't have a right to inflict their rituals on me (unless it is their own home and I am free to leave).

If say, my religion demands silence before god (rather than wearing a hat or not wearing a hat) then what they say and do affects my religion. If you are going to respect religions you cannot ask people to listen to apostasy can you?

Re:No! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183694)

You are welcome to be silent before your God.

If your religion mandates that EVERYONE ELSE also be silent before God, then you are preventing them from exercising THEIR OWN freedom of religion.

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189030)

Ah! You got the drift.

Religion is divisive and in conflict with itself. Better off getting rid of it.

Re:No! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182228)

I lack a lot of things. I lack a hole in the head, for one thing. Saying I lack something doesn’t necessarily imply that I want to have it, nor does it necessarily imply that I ought to have it.

Another thing I lack is a sense of insecurity or whatever else it would be that might cause me to go around taking offense at people for petty imagined slights when no offense was meant.

Re:No! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185298)

You most likely don't realise how pervasive (not quite "all-encompassing", but...) those "petty" things are in daily life. Not only because you (possibly?) consider yourself part of that social construct (so large portion of its influence is just "life as usual"), but also...don't really know any better.

Me...well, let me put it this way. I'm originally mostly from Poland (officially arounf 95% Christians...); but this also means that right across the border (on which I basically live for now; border cities are tolerable...) I have Czech Republic (70% non-religious) and Germany...but most notably Berlin area, which is comparable to Czech Republic.

And oh boy...it's so much nicer there.

Now, the bets part - when your average "devout Polish Christian" goes, say, to Czech Republic (a lot of beatiful monasteries for example)...well, that person typically doesn't realize it was a trip to a very strongly atheist country. They just don't know. That doesn't work so well in the other direction.
We know how to "not get in your way"...but here is the place for mutualism...

Re:No! (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185418)

And oh boy...it's so much nicer there.

You’re really going to have to expound on that. I have no idea what you’re getting at. Please don’t tell me you’re distressed just by having to drive past churches.

Now, the bets part - when your average "devout Polish Christian" goes, say, to Czech Republic (a lot of beatiful monasteries for example)...well, that person typically doesn't realize it was a trip to a very strongly atheist country. They just don't know. That doesn't work so well in the other direction. We know how to "not get in your way"...but here is the place for mutualism...

Evolution is equally pervasive where I am. I believe that God first of all exists, secondly could create, thirdly happens to have created, and while I really don’t care if someone disagrees with that, just about anywhere I go is saturated with evolutionary theory: billions of years this, millions of years that. In completely unrelated subjects they’ll feel the need to point out the completely unnecessary fact that such-and-such a fish, according to them, is thought to have been unchanged for tens of millions of years. And should I happen to voice my own opinion, I’ll be heartily beaten over the head by the devoted believers in Science.

Frankly I’d prefer we could just pretend to be civil enough to mostly get along. I’ll tolerate hearing about their billions of years and atheists can tolerate hearing a few prayers.

Re:No! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185786)

Oh, there are a lot of churches allright... (though admittedly some of them converted to buildings of public utility; at least there's some use)

It's just that hardly anybody verbally (or worse...) attacks my way of life. Nobody is of the arrogant position that I'm "poor" (that's a recent citation). Nobody forces on me performing their rituals (I'm not kidding, literally forcing oneself into my private space to perform a ritual on me). If this is about people who you come in contact with regularly...yeah, much nicer.
But on the more general level it means that laws are followed. See, I have hypothetically, in PL, freedom from religion. But why do I have to (limiting myself to obvious violations of the idea of modern society) follow one set of laws and certain people - another one? Heck, if I would do such ruckus during the night or early morning hours, blocking major streets or outright crimes...it wouldn't end up well for me. Somehow also this one group is immune from investigation of their collaboration with SB (security service of communist regime). Why the public money for churches? Why forcefull and delibarate invasion of the present "sacred" places of current version of pagan faith? (those ones are sensibly nice BTW, at least for now) Why they don't have to care about taxes? (no, I don't mean "tax breaks"...they don't have to document their income. Don't you wonder how large part of it comes from questionable sources?)

But I gues this discussion is pointless with you if you felt the need to throw evolution into it... (protip: endorsed by Catholic Church, for example; there's no conflict)

Generally, the whole thing is illustrated best by how you demanded from me the explanation of such concept as "nice"...and yet you didn't see a problem with bringing, in the same post, your beliefs without any kind of backing them... (BTW can you even find a factor more deciding than "I was born into this"?...) Didn't occur to you that it's better to be left alone, in context.
But double standars is fine as long as it serves you...

Re:No! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185872)

Look, you just described your situation, and I agree that (if it’s as bad as you claim) then you have cause to be irritated.

You then proceed to belittle my belief in a God who created. I told you what I believe. There is a conflict; the Roman Catholic Church happens to be, in my humble opinion, wrong about that – and a lot of other things. I offered it as an example, not just to “throw evolution into it”, but as a way to show that atheism and humanism are just as prevalent in my society as the religious intolerance that seems to be in yours.

Re:No! (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186146)

Now realize that without some opposition (and safety checks in law, etc.; of which this /. story is about...even if the particular situation was handled poorly) - a large part of religions, when left to do what they want, reverts to such state (or worse). OK, you might be sincerely convinced that you would never support such things. But, by nonetheless identifying with them to some degree, you give them power. You agree almost fully with people who are just "a little" more towards the "extreme" side. And so on...

You miss that the point was...why did you even feel the need to share? What for? How does sharing what you specifically believe in contributes in any way towards harmonious resolution? Pointing out "conflicts" and "intolerances". Face it, you (now talking about groups) feed on this...
Did you see me sharing?

Heck, you even show again the issue I touched on at the end of my previous post. There was no "belittling" in there - just a very legitimate but extremelly uncomfortable question to vast majority of faithfull (I know, it's not the first time I asked...people either start to be passive-agressive or, sometimes, agree; and if you wonder already - no, I never touch on the subject first. Ever). But hey, that's disrespectfull now...

Re:No! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186418)

I felt the need to share because people were being told that they couldn’t exercise their religion the way they wanted to, and I happen to think that is wrong.

Wrong (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189184)

and yet right.

People do not have the right to burn each other at the stake for different beliefs. If you support that then I will have to oppose to the point of death. And that is a bigger sacrifice than you can possibly make because you believe there is a soul to continue while I do not. I will oppose your right to burn people over religious issues to the point of my extinction full well understanding that you would find that outcome desirable.

It is not that you think it wrong it is that you are not thinking at all. You are operating on faith, one faith, and you cannot see all the conflicts it causes because you have 'faith'. You deliberately choose not to see. There are none so blind...

That is what faith means. Choosing to be blind, choosing to be ignorant, wilful stupidity. I am not expressing opinion here I am showing you the definition. There is nothing for you 'argue' about, it is all fact. Fact not faith.

Re:Wrong (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189266)

People do not have the right to silence someone else for different beliefs, either. That is exactly what happened at the senior center in TFA.

That is what religious intolerance means. I am not expressing opinion here; I am showing you the definition. There is nothing for you to “argue” about. it is fact.

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189148)

You think it is different in the USA? Or UK? Or NZ?

If you don't understand evolution, how/why are you on a tech blog?

The theory of evolution is as comprehensive or more as the theory of gravity.

There are no fairies in the bottom of the garden.

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189120)

So you are saying that fictions should be tolerated and given the same acceptance as facts? Duck Fat!

Re:No! (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189230)

So you are saying that fictions should be tolerated and given the same acceptance as facts?

Indeed they should not. Evolution should absolutely not be taught as fact.

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189104)

And another you lack is the ability to think clearly.

Why do you assume I am insulted? I'm not. I've been exposed to religious stupidities for sixty years. Of course no offence was meant. Bigots seldom realise that they are either stupid or insulting.

Because I point it out does not mean I am offended. I expect no better from the religious mind set. You have to realise that religious people have chosen to believe. It isn't based on intelligence or reason. They have chosen to be stupid, to have 'faith'. I choose otherwise. I don't bow down to darkness, I seek to illuminate it. If truth offends it is not my problem.

Oh, and from the reactions of the god bothers in this thread, it certainly is not me who is insecure.

Re:No! (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186172)

Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

Bullshit! Let's change one word twice and see if it still flies:

Freedom of speech includes freedom from speech

So, if freedom FROM religion means you can stop a group of people from praying, then freedom FROM speech means that I can make you STFU.

So, let's try it out. STFU!

If I see you post here again, that means that you agree with me that freedom of religion does NOT meant freedom FROM religion.

Re:No! (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189050)

lol... you like strawmen?

In most countries you do have some freedom from speech. Slander laws etc.

And, no, you cannot impose your unilateral rules on me. You are actually supporting my point.

Re:FFS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32180680)

If your religion (or lack of religion) will not permit you to even listen to me pray, nor will it allow you to respectfully avoid making a disruption that prevents me from praying or distracts people who want to listen to my prayer, then your beliefs are intolerant of mine, not vice versa.

If your religion forces me to sit through several minutes of rambling to a fictional entity, or endure your regular disruption of everyday life that make everybody who doesn't want to participate uncomfortable or distracts people who don't want to listen to your prayers in their social lifes, then your beliefs are intolerant of everybody else, not vice versa.

Basically you want to force your religious habits onto others. You said it yourself: those who don't want participate should stop their lives till you are finished, out of "respect", probably "for the children", too. Also, we're talking about dinner. Not an elective visit to a religious celebration like a Mormon funeral. Red herring and all that.

Re:FFS (1, Flamebait)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32181098)

If your religion forces me to sit through several minutes of rambling to a fictional entity, or endure your regular disruption of everyday life that make everybody who doesn't want to participate uncomfortable or distracts people who don't want to listen to your prayers in their social lifes

Oh, cry me a river. You’ll live. I had to read your whining pathetic post and I’m not complaining.

Basically you want to force your religious habits onto others. You said it yourself: those who don't want participate should stop their lives till you are finished, out of "respect", probably "for the children", too. Also, we're talking about dinner. Not an elective visit to a religious celebration like a Mormon funeral. Red herring and all that.

No, YOU are forcing YOUR religious habits onto EVERYONE else. If everyone except you and a couple other people want to have a prayer, you are the one forcing the issue by making a fuss.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184980)

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185122)

If your cartoons had any relevance to the actual situation, they might be more amusing. The vast majority of Christians don’t go around bashing people over the head with their beliefs.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185190)

...or so they think.

Really, come on, you're talking here about a group of people who is convinced that they know the ultimate (of those which are really relevant to us) truth about the Universe, who think that have the absolute moral guidance. Wouldn't you be at all surpised if such people noticed readily any systematic errors in their ways?...

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185260)

As opposed to any other religion, which is also convinced that it knows the ultimate truth about the Universe, and has the absolute moral guidance?

Or atheists, who are convinced of their own ultimate truths about the universe (typically chance and evolution) and their own moral guidance (typically self-imposed sense of ethics, civilly imposed sense of law, etc.)?

We’ve degenerated into the stupid situation where simply believing someone is wrong is considered to be the same as intolerantly bashing them over the head. If someone goes on a lengthy tirade about godless atheists who have no morals then yeah, you have a justified reason to call them intolerant. A polite prayer before a meal, however, is absolutely not any justifiable cause for offense.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185400)

You really think there's no difference or only pretend?... O_o

Religions are of the position that they represent the absolute truth (each of them separately, which btw tells something about it...). You can of course easily find atheists who are like that (though to many it's really more about post-theism). But not only that doesn't follow to "absolute moral guidance" in this case, those people...generally...just want to be left alone. Really, everything else (secularisation, etc.) will just follow from that, no need to do anything...

Religions OTOH generally exhibit the trait of securing their realm however it's feasible (those which don't do that - vanish). That includes permeating every aspect of life, if that's possible. Getting in your way, if that's possible.

BTW, preaching means there many such tirades exactly. No, it isn't limited to private spaces or to a way not relying on public funds; if it did...heck, I don't care much what you do in private.
Prayer before a meal stops being polite if it is intruding into the public space.

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185566)

I really wouldn’t have a problem with atheists who just wanted to be left alone. It’s just that leaving them alone too often means that I can’t do perfectly reasonable things in public places while they’re there to be offended by it.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185874)

You just said "only my group can decide what it means being left alone, what it means being reasonable". I agree, sums it up pretty good.

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185894)

What I said was, if your freedom from religion means I can’t talk to one of my friends (imaginary or not) in a public place, you are an intolerant bigot.

Re:FFS (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189288)

sure, sure. if me and thirty other people in the room wanna rape you and your mom, you're the one making a fuss by objecting.

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183786)

It’s not even like you’d be forced to sit through it if you don’t want to.

If you’re really so offended by listening to someone exercise their own religion, just come to the meal just before it starts and after the silly religious nonsense is over with.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184900)

Oh, he should just stay away from publicly founded avenues?

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184978)

I suppose he could, at least until it’s made illegal to pray in public.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185002)

...and you thought nobody sees the subtle difference between "should" and "could"?... (the latter meaning the former too often anyway; ostracism is rampant throughout the world)

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185098)

He “could” also do as I already suggested, so your little dilemma over “could” vs. “should” is quite unnecessary.

It’s not even like you’d be forced to sit through it if you don’t want to

just come to the meal just before it starts and after the silly religious nonsense is over with

Now, quit making me repeat myself.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185154)

So are you at least equally supportive of the idea that any religious ones should do their business in private and then they can come to public space?

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185216)

I’m not against the idea, no. Certainly if a majority of the people didn’t want to have a prayer, then the ones who did should pray silently to themselves or do it in their rooms or some other place before coming to the meal.

If the majority of the people do want to have the prayer, though, a few arrogant killjoys shouldn’t be allowed to prevent everyone else from having it.

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185324)

You know, a large part od being a modern democracy is also having a respect (heh, there it returns again ;p ) for minorities, especially since it appear to be along the lines of the law...

Otherwise, you just have a mob rule.

Re:FFS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32185530)

After reading TFA (yes, surprise), it seems my original idea [take a vote, have somebody pray, keep most of the people happy] wasn’t really very relevant.

There is no unified prayer given by someone.

They are, in fact, telling the individual people that they are not permitted to pray audibly before they eat. It might offend someone.

Unless there is a total prohibition on TALKING while you eat, it shouldn’t matter whether you are talking to the guy sitting next to you, to an imaginary friend, or to your particular deity (which some people would call an imaginary friend anyway). Treat them equally. If they’re not being loud and disruptive, they can talk to whomever they want. If they are being abnormally loud and bothering other people, it shouldn’t make any difference what they were shouting about.

Re:FFS (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32175588)

The ancient Greeks devised systems 3000 years ago whereby each citizen could voice their objections without their vote being known publicly. The term "blackball" still in use today is derived from one of those systems. And yet you can't conceive of any way for a person to object to a prayer without doing it in front of everyone else?!?

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184804)

It wouldn't work so easily in a small community.
It's not hard to have a small, "passionate" group that would start poitning fingers. Yes, they have some chance to be wrong in pinpointing the "guilty"...so what?

Re:FFS (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184590)

You've never heard about religious ostracism?...

Sigh (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32172406)

There is a big difference between "being forced to pray" and "being allowed to pray". As long as no one is being coerced into joining in, there should be no problem with public prayer. I'm a firm believer in separation of church and state, but that principle was intended to prevent the state from favoring one religion over another, not to forbid all public displays of religious practice. Those that don't wish to participate in the prayer should be allowed not to, just like those that don't wish to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Re:Sigh (0, Troll)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174762)

Actually the principle was intended to prevent the nation as a whole from favoring one state over another. Individual states had their own state religion.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Note that has no mention of state legislatures, and that the current modus operandi tends to squelch any religious display at all in the name of an unconsitutional "separation".

Re:Sigh (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179310)

I guess the only problem with public prayer is that it is against Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachings. You give yourself away when you say "allowed" not to - as if you were granting a right.

Re:Sigh (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183600)

Ok, "allowed not to" is a poor choice of words. "Not pressured or coerced in any way to participate, or made to feel embarrassed by having a different belief system" is more accurate, but a lot more awkward to say. It's just like the controversy over prayer before school football games -- it in no way diminishes me to STFU and let other people pray, even if I find their belief system to be ridiculous. You must love and respect others regardless of their beliefs -- but then, that's just my belief system.

Re:Sigh (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184480)

Thing is, "Not pressured or coerced in any way to participate, or made to feel embarrassed by having a different belief system" is mostly a fiction. It's rather easy to not see it if you do have some sort of faith, because although there are many different ones (virtually each "condemning" in one way or another the rest btw...), in modern world they try to act, with such stuff, on a quid pro quo basis. "OK, I don't really like that you display yours, but I have to bear it, somehow, to display mine..."

What about those who don't have any, don't display any, don't impose any show for surroundings? That was the case with controversy over footbal prayer, from the cases I've heard about.

Re:Sigh (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186068)

A religious fanatic might have a rational fear that someone else who prays to the wrong God might go to hell. An Atheist doesn't believe it matters at all what deity someone prays to, so why should they care how other people waste their time? What make you think I'm not an Atheist? Can't I be an Atheist and still believe in religious tolerance?

Re:Sigh (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32186446)

Certainly you can be. But I was looking more at how this ideal ends up (generally how it works) in practice...

Sure, who cares how people waste their time. But what when they start to waste your time?

Re:Sigh (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188960)

Then accept this belief - I go to a football match to watch the game not have moments of my precious life wasted with bullshit propaganda.

That belief acceptable?

Diverting my purpose, wasting my time, that is imposing your religion on me.

Re:Sigh (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184506)

I take you live in a place without ostracism? Really?

bullshit (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173242)

The seniors can pray all they want, wherever and whenever they want. But the organization providing the meals cannot ask them or encourage them to pray, and a lout group prayer is not acceptable either. The organization can hold a moment of silence during which everybody can pray or do whatever else they like.

Pray on your own time, not during federally funded events.

Re:bullshit (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174460)

It is very simple to solve this democratically.

Question 1: What sort of prayer you would prefer before meals (ex: Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, moment of silence, none; be as specific as you wish)?

____________________________

Question 2: Will you, or will you not, be able to respectfully and silently sit without disrupting the proceedings if the form of prayer that is given is not according to your own religious beliefs?

____________________________

Then choose a form of prayer (or no prayer) that, based on Question 1, will appeal to the most people, and anyone who answers question 2 in the negative is an asshat who can come to meals when the food is ready to be served; meanwhile everyone else can get there ten minutes earlier and have someone give the prayer.

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174856)

Sounds a bit like like "don't ask, don't tell", which is also a bad idea.

Think about it, if you can ...

linuxcub@email.dk

Re:bullshit (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32176840)

Not at all. You are free to say you disagree with the prayer, or with the faith of the person who gave it, so long as it is done in a respectful, non-disruptive manner that doesn’t infringe on the rights of the person who is trying to pray or the other people who are trying to participate in the prayer.

Re:bullshit (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179342)

Wrong. You are not considering the plethora of religions. I live in a multicultural society. Listening to all the objections would take up more time than a prayer. Oh, and whose prayer goes ahead? Which one?

Re:bullshit (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182096)

Let someone who represent the largest group of people give a blessing before the meal. Let anyone who objects, or wishes to give their own blessing or prayer, do so privately or in a smaller group in the community room or somewhere else. It’s not like you have to start eating the instant you’ve finished the prayer.

Furthermore I never said that the majority (who wanted to have the prayer) have to give the objectors a pulpit from which to announce their objections. They can voice their objection to whomever cares to listen at their table as they eat.

And (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183166)

If the largest group is two out of thirty? No, simpler to dispense with it or do it elsewhere.

Re:And (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183668)

You don’t really think that the most people they’d get to agree on this would be 2 people. You are just being intentionally difficult.

If the largest group who could agree to anything were in fact two out of thirty, then YES, it would be simpler to dispense with it or do it elsewhere.

Re:And (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189010)

Ok, "So, madame we know you are a whore, now we are merely discussing price".

You just demonstrated your argument is fvvked. You are arguing for the tyranny of the majority. You are a dangerous person if listened to.

Re:And (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189240)

Your argument has been fucked all along.

If the two guys over there are allowed to politely converse between themselves before, or during, their meal, then I am allowed to have a polite conversation with my friend, even if you think he is imaginary.

The alternative is making everyone eat their meal in perfect silence. Either they may talk, or they may not. So which is it?

Re:bullshit (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32178276)

It is very simple to solve this democratically.

Nazi Germany was overwhelmingly Christian and voted to deprive non-Christians of their civil rights and later kill them; tyranny of the majority is not democracy.

The US Constitution has the non-establishment clause; you can vote as much as you want, it's not going away. You probably can't even eliminate it with a Constitutional amendment.

Re:bullshit (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182170)

Ha! What a joke.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Now show me the law, made by Congress, that would respect the establishment of a religion if the seniors were allowed to have their prayer before they eat, which really sounds to me like the freedom to exercise their religion that was just affirmed by that very amendment.

Re:bullshit (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184540)

No federally funded organisation would be allowed to say "Let's pray for a minute"

But neither are they allowed to say "You're not allowed to pray"

What they're meant to do is say "Here's the food" and then the seniors can do whatever the heck they'd like.

Re:bullshit (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32184658)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Explain to me how you get, from that, the notion that no federally funded organization would be allowed to have someone pray.

Or (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32179330)

Anyone who wants to pray can pray before they get there. Then they can pray as atheist, jew or jain. In actuality the teachings (not the practice) of all major religion in the USA discourage public prayer.

Re:Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181894)

It's so true, and in Christianity this is spelled out fairly clearly in Matthew 6. Not surprisingly though, Christians are probably the most likely to pray in public or /at the street corners/ ;)

Matthew 6:

6‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.*
Concerning Prayer

5 ‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.*

Re:Or (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182274)

I do not disagree that there is much hypocrisy in Christianity, but public prayer is (and has always been) perfectly appropriate and proper in many situations. Giving thanks before you eat is one of those.

If you want to tell God how wonderful you are and/or ask him to give you stuff that you think you need (maybe you do need it, like food for the table... but plenty of stuff you ask for is probably stuff that you don’t need)... then yes, that is a matter between you and God and shouldn’t be done in public.

Re:Or (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183124)

I am not talking about hypocrisy in the churches I am talking about hypocrisy of the churches. If you think that public prayer is appropriate then you disagree with what christ taught. To me, it is then hypocritical (or heresy if you like) to call oneself christian. You are not a christian if you disagree with what he taught.

Re:Or (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183652)

If you think that public prayer is appropriate then you disagree with what christ taught.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” — Mt. 11:25-27, Jesus speaking in front of a crowd

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. — Mt. 14:19, at which it is recorded 5,000 men were present

Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. — Mt. 15:36, at which 4,000 men were present

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.” — Mt. 26:26-27, with his disciples

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” — Mt. 27:46, Jesus on the cross

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. — Mk. 6:41, parallel passage to the feeding of the 5,000 as also recorded in Matthew

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. — Mk. 8:6-7, parallel passage to the feeding of the 4,000 as also recorded in Matthew

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. — Mk. 14:22-23, parallel passage of the last supper as also recorded in Matthew

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” — Mk. 15:34, parallel passage of Jesus on the cross as also recorded in Matthew

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. — Lk. 9:16, parallel to Matthew and Mark’s gospels

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” — Lk. 22:17-19, parallel to Matthew and Mark’s accounts

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. — Lk. 23:34, Jesus on the cross

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. — Lk. 23:46, on the cross

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. — Lk. 24:30, Jesus appearing to two of his disciples after his resurrection

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. — Jn. 6:11, parallel to Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s accounts

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” — Jn. 11:41-42, just before Jesus resurrects Lazarus

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: [really long prayer] — Jn. 17:1-26, Jesus praying in front of his disciples

Now, you were saying?

Re:Or (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32188990)

Thank you for supporting my case. There is a distinction made between prayer and giving thanks which I am sure you well know. Giving thanks is always appropriate. Prayer is not.

Re:Or (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32189202)

I don’t know what rock you’ve been hiding for all your life, but when someone “gives thanks” for their food to some divine entity, most people call that prayer.

The first definition for prayer given by Google is:

“the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving)”

Every one of the verses I quoted from the New Testament portrays Jesus praying in a more-or-less public setting. Sometimes he was “giving thanks”, but I’d like to know what you call the first one I quoted (Mt. 11:25-27) if not “prayer”.

Sometimes he was just praying in front of his disciples, but other times he prayed in front of large crowds. He even said on one recorded instance that he was praying for the sake of the listeners – because obviously God would have heard him if he’d prayed silently, but he wanted it to be clear who was doing the miracle: God.

Re:Or (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182022)

Way to take the verse out of context. (Yes, I know exactly which verse you’re referring to, at least from the Christian Bible. If you care to show me where in Judaism it teaches against public prayer, feel free... nothing springs to mind from the Old Testament, but I know there are other written teachings and traditions besides the Pentateuch, or Torah.)

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
  hallowed be your name,
  your kingdom come,
  your will be done
  on earth as it is in heaven.
  Give us today our daily bread.
  Forgive us our debts,
  as we also have forgiven our debtors.
  And lead us not into temptation,
  but deliver us from the evil one.’ ”
— Mt. 6:5-15

It’s very specifically referring to the boastful prayers that hypocrites of that day would make on street-corners. Rather than really talking to God, they were merely going through litanies of their accomplishments and tributes to themselves, so that the bystanders would see how great they were – and God said that is all the reward they would get for this sort of “prayer”. If you have some greatness about you that you think God should reward you for, it’s a matter between you and God. Likewise if you have a request to make of God it need not be a public matter.

Giving thanks before a meal, on the other hand, is plentifully supported by Jesus’ habits; for instance:

And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. — Jn. 6:11

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; — Mt. 26:26-27

This is a public gratitude to God which focuses on Him, not the person praying, and is not the sort of prayer that Jesus said to do in secret. Additionally, requesting something from God to demonstrate his power and glory was also something commonly done in public:

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
— Jn. 11:40-44

In fact there are many times when Jesus prayed in public, but always drawing attention to the Father’s greatness, not to Jesus’ own glory.

The prophets in the Old Testament did similarly, but I won’t bother to find some passages because I think I’ve made my point quite well enough.

Time to be unpopular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32181826)

I am not against anyone praying anywhere they would like, but I would like to make a point instead of losing the point of the connection of the freedom of religion and not being allowed to have a time of prayer in a publicly funded function. Its not about the hate of religion or the denial of religion by our governmental policies, but simply due to the fact that we cannot read or speak aloud a prayer of all religions of all people in a room reliably or efficiently enough to do anything else but that.
This was from Georgia, right? A hundred to one odds that they weren't reading a verse from the Koran or the Hebrew Bible. Why does that matter? Christianity/Catholicism are so dominant in our society that the will of their followers can easily drown out the ideals and will (no matter how similar) of other smaller/less represented religions. If we cannot represent them all equally our judicial system has decided that it is best to not enshrine any religious practices in almost all governmental practices (common exceptions being swearing in testimony, offering death-row prisoner's religious council, etc.) not out of hate of or disagreement with any religion, but for the protection of all religions. You may say that its just a prayer; people can stand to hear a prayer or a song or see religious effigies scattered through their free and open societies. Plenty of people do just that, as religion permeates every layer of our society, but just one thing it stays out of the the one part of our society we expect to be impartial and fair; government. Our government's policies do not want to sponser you praying to Jesus for the same reason it won't sponser someone else praying to Allah, Bhudda, Muhammed, L Ron Hubbard, or the Devil. Government does not care who you pray for, just as long as they stay a comfortable distance from it.
There is still a moment of silence so people who want to pray before their meals still can, just not out loud or even implying the need for it. You still receive all the benefit of participating in your own religion as everyone else present. What do you miss out on? Feeling like you are not alone in your beliefs at that moment. If you need that connection, you can go to church as i do every 3 days. I believe in God and our Great Democratic Experiment, and the seperation between the two is what allows me and millions of others to hold each with equal reverence in their hearts without betraying the other. I hope we never take that for granted.

Matt B.

Officious People are So Stupid (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32182196)

There was a classic (but perhaps apocryphal) story running around a few months ago about officials at a hospice for the dying who decided it was inappropriate for the visiting chaplains (of various denominations, Christian and non-Christian) to refer to God when privately counseling their patients.

If it's a government-run institution that feels they can't sanction grace before meals, somebody could help the interested people gather privately and informally a few minutes beforehand to have their prayer before going in for their meal. Nobody's harmed, nobody's offended, no laws are violated. Of course that would require common sense and the ability to behave graciously and with civility and consideration. I'm betting it will never happen.

Re:Officious People are So Stupid (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32183416)

I think you have to right idea, but the wrong scapegoat. It appears to be the vice-president of the privately run company that provides the food that is afraid that their federal funding might be in peril because of the prayers.

Mostly it seems to be one old fool who's thrown a spanner in the works. The Senior Citizens Inc. company should stick to delivering the food, what's said before or after should be no concern of theirs as long as they are not the people saying it. They don't even own the venue where the prayers were being said. So, even if the prayers were seen to be an issue, the fault and liability should lie the with the Ed Young Senior's Center and not with Senior Citizen's Inc.

The problem here isn't religion or atheism, it's stupidity and knee-jerk reactions. You could possibly also blame the generally lousy state of American law.

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