I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pre-Meeting Prayer: Is This the Next Domino to Fall?

This afternoon's meeting of the Escambia County School Board became an excruciating exercise in restraint.

Listening first to a dissertation from our attorney about the ins and outs of pre-meeting prayer and the pros and cons, and the potential legal pitfalls, the ups and downs, the how we can do it but maybe we shouldn't--left my head spinning like a centrifuge and the issue about as clear as mud.

At the end of it I think her opinion is/was that we can continue to do our pre-meeting invocations but that to guarantee no litigation a moment of silence should be adopted as our policy.

I'll only go along with that if I'm forced to, or if the majority of the board votes to adopt this as a policy.

It came as a refreshing surprise that three board members stated they preferred to continue the long established practice of having each board member, on a rotational basis, bring a guest to deliver a pre-meeting prayer monthly.

For a moment I thought the pendulum had swung all the way, the last domino had fallen, and the board was going to completely capitulate on this issue.

All around the country-everywhere I look-people seem to just bow down and genuflect to the loudest voices in the room with ridiculous demands that are counter to the majority of the people's values.

Doesn't look like that is happening here yet, thankfully.


Anonymous said...

From Galloway v Greece SCOTUS majority opinion: Prayer is permitted at such legislative bodies because: "The town at no point excluded or denied an opportunity to a would-be prayer giver. Its leaders maintained that a minister or layperson of any persuasion, including an atheist, could give the invocation." Likewise from Galloway "So long as the town maintains a policy of nondiscrimination, the Constitution does not require it to search beyond its borders for non-Christian prayer givers in an effort to achieve religious balancing."

The ECSB ignores these SCOTUS instructions. They don't allow laypersons or those of faiths they don't like and they practice discrimination. A moment of silence would welcome everyone and not break the law.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anon 2-12, I will not post your comment, it will stay in moderation because you have chosen to use a term that is anti-Semitic, derogatory, and demeaning. I won't tolerate it. The first part of your comment was fine, if you want to re-phrase it and re-post it I'll approve it to appear. Unlike others who just let that same smear roll off their backs, when they could have and should have challenged the use of that term--- I won't because it is an attack-phrase.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how ALL the SB members independently determined that the invocation offers from Humanists, atheists and Pagans were all "BAD FAITH"? Not a single one of you will consider these offers, despite Galloway's dictate that "ANYONE" could offer an invocation and that government bodies should practice "NONDISCRIMINATION". It seems like "BAD FAITH" is any faith except Christianity... and maybe one Jew "for diversity".

Still waiting on that WRITTEN invocation policy too. It's been 6 months. Why does it take so long? Probably because your attorney can not write a policy that allows you to exclude minorities at will and still comports with the law.