Prayer has long been a regular part of government meetings in the U.S.
However, although it's legal, some say it can be divisive and excludes those of minority religious beliefs or no religious beliefs from participating.
To ensure all community members are included and everyone’s religious freedom is protected the American Civil Liberties Union recently suggested government bodies do one of the following:
- Use their personal time before or after meetings to pray as they see fit, so they can focus meeting time on getting government business done
- Solemnize meetings by starting with a few words from volunteer speakers from a wide variety of faiths and philosophical traditions.
We asked our panelists about it.
Do you think it is appropriate for government bodies to open meetings with prayer? If so, should there be any restrictions?