Save 75% - Only $49.99 for 1 full year! digitalPLUS subscription offer ends 12/1
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Ehrlich echoes the babble of religious conservatives on prayer [Letter]

DemocracyU.S. CongressRobert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Sadly, commentator Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. repeats the babble of religious conservatives who claim that the "free exercise" of religion includes the right to impose their own religion on everyone else at government meetings or other government-sponsored institutions, including public school classrooms ("Freedom of, not from, religion," June 1).

The repetition of religious formulas of prayer or even extemporaneous forms of prayer as part of a public event is an imposition of religion at that event. And if it is done as part of a government activity, it is a government-sponsored imposition of religion.

If a general monument to war dead or to veterans located on government property is a common Christian symbol, then it not only puts government in the position of sponsoring Christianity, but the monument silently excludes all non-Christians who sacrificed just as much.

The principle of the religion clause of the First Amendment (and the prohibition of religious tests in Article VI of the Constitution) is that government may not impose religion in any fashion or through any means.

The fact that Congress itself makes a habit of opening its sessions with prayer is an abuse. But it is also somewhat irrelevant, since there is no forced attendance and that action precedes any roll call to establish a quorum. It has no effect on anyone not in the House or Senate chambers.

But the imposition of prayers on pupils in class or the public in a government meeting hall is actually un-Christian. "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them," Jesus admonished his followers. "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray [in public places] that they may be seen."

Ronald P. Bowers, Timonium

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
DemocracyU.S. CongressRobert L. Ehrlich Jr.
  • Ehrlich rants an embarrassment
    Ehrlich rants an embarrassment

    Not quite 10 years ago when I moved to Baltimore from a D.C. suburb, I made the decision to switch from The Washington Post to The Baltimore Sun for my daily news read. Ever since, I have had the paper delivered to my home on a daily basis. Even as it has gone down hill in content over that...

  • Ehrlich mistaken on tax burden
    Ehrlich mistaken on tax burden

    Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. does not look at the big picture. Is this because he is not interested in giving a fair presentation? In his most recent column (tax bill for government at all levels.

  • American values under Obama
    American values under Obama

    Two columns ago, I passed on a series of political observations from the heartland. Today, a snapshot of American values and viewpoints a decade and a half into the "new" millennium.

  • What Obama should have said
    What Obama should have said

    Here is what President Barack Obama should have said when he addressed the American people after his party's massive losses in Tuesday's election:

  • Obamacare is a 'varsity stinker'
    Obamacare is a 'varsity stinker'

    OK, I can't help myself. Over the past three years, I have written at least a dozen columns critical of Obamacare (a.k.a. The "Affordable Care Act") in this space and devoted an entire chapter to the topic in my book "America: Hope for Change."

  • Hillary all over again
    Hillary all over again

    With the exception of President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton is the most recognized American politician of this era. Today, she is far and away the Democratic front runner for president. Many believe she is the odds on favorite to win it all — a view supported by a variety of public...

  • Middle class value claims are a 'joke' [Commentary]
    Middle class value claims are a 'joke' [Commentary]

    It's the political season, which explains another column of "Things That Bug Me." Herewith my latest list for your consideration:

  • Respect the power of the pardon [Commentary]
    Respect the power of the pardon [Commentary]

    "[O]ne man appears to be a more eligible dispenser of the mercy of government, than a body of men."

Comments
Loading