Friday, June 27, 2014

In response to a Supreme Court ruling, journalist creates a transparency prayer for public meetings

The Supreme Court ruled in May that it's constitutional to have a Christian prayer before meetings held by a public agency as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or proselytize. The ruling has stirred deep emotions in many editorials, but one that seems most fitting—suggested by of our friend Max Heath—is from Allan Burke, publisher emeritus of the Emmons County Record in Linton, N.D. Here is the editorial:

Allan Burke
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has said it's OK to open a government meeting with prayer. The case involved town council meetings. Here is a suggested prayer for opening meetings of county commissions, school boards, city boards and other governmental entities.

Lord, may this meeting include full and open discussion of the issues,  and let the public be assured that no deals have been cut or discussion held outside this meeting.

We ask that no board business be conducted by phone, email, Facebook, text or twitter, and that this board follow federal and state laws.

Please guide this board to rarely go into executive session and always to be transparent.

It is our humble request that the official minutes include a reasonable and fair summary of the proceedings and not be censored by the politicians.

We ask that members of this board abstain from voting when they have a conflict of interest.

May this board remember the ordinances, rules and regulations it has adopted and precedents it has set and follow them with consistency.

Lord, we ask that those voting to spend money remember that taxes come out of the pockets of hard-working citizens and should be spent sparingly and wisely.

We ask that no favoritism be shown because of a person’s family connections, standing in the community, power or wealth and that all citizens be treated fairly and with respect.

Lord, we ask that competitive bids be sought for major expenditures and that the truth be told about those bids.

Finally, Lord, we ask that this board listen to the citizens and accept input, suggestions and criticism graciously.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with the opportunity to live in a democratic republic under the United States Constitution.


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