The good people of Lanesboro understand public prayer

  • Article by: ROBIN DOROSHOW
  • Updated: May 29, 2014 - 6:24 PM

It’s too bad the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t take a cue from the Minnesota town’s approach.

The U.S. Supreme Court might want to take a field trip to Lanesboro, Minn. Or at least Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts should make the trip.

Lanesboro, population 743, is no great bastion of diversity. It is white, Christian and rural. And it is wise.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent holding in Town of Greece vs. Galloway, it was refreshing to spend Memorial Day weekend in a place that, while lacking organic diversity, understands the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

According to the recent Supreme Court decision, apparently a Christian prayer before a town meeting does not violate the First Amendment. If anyone can explain this to me, I would appreciate it.

It was a pleasure to watch Lanesboro’s veterans (including a World War II vet celebrating his 95th birthday) march down the town’s main street to its community center with pride and honor.

But as the parade emptied into the community center for its Memorial Day program, I felt trepidation at what might ensue inside. As our family entered with the others, I was aware as I often am in such situations, that the four of us were likely the only non-Christians in attendance.

I held my breath during the opening prayer and again during the final benediction, but the clergy spoke in broad terms of God and a higher power, never bringing any specific set of beliefs or dogma into the equation.

Greece, N.Y., just outside of Rochester, with a population of 94,000, including a number of non-Christians, doesn’t get it, and apparently neither does the Supreme Court. But the people in a small community in southeastern Minnesota do, and it was a pleasure to observe Memorial Day with them.

Robin Doroshow lives in Golden Valley.

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