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Continued: Readers Write (May 11): The American way, the Dorothy Day Center, prayer in public life

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  • Last update: May 10, 2014 - 1:53 PM

Some legislators are trying to fight homelessness; others, not so much. So often we read of the extraordinarily high payouts for corporate executives in our area. Maybe they could contribute part of their largesse and their political power, too, to attack this problem. As the article suggested, perhaps they could stand in the dinner queue in a cold rain outside Dorothy Day along with the legislators. After all, you really can’t take it with you.

Judy Crawford, Wayzata

 

PUBLIC PRAYER

Court ruling was a serious misreading

The Supreme Court decision on prayers in public legislative meetings opens up the floodgates in states, counties and cities across the nation. Many prayers offered are sectarian given by Christians. The comments by civic elected leaders in a May 8 article (“Green light on prayer gets ‘amen’ from cities”) do not reflect the Minnesota I know.

The ruling cited as a precedent a prayer given by the Rev. Jacob Duche in 1774, the first chaplain of the Continental Congress. It recognized the Rev. Duche as a patriot. It failed to note that many of his contemporaries called him a traitor when he wrote George Washington asking him to surrender to the British in our war for independence.

The America of 1774 was not the one that exists today. It was basically Christian. Today, we are more diverse religiously, with a growing number claiming no religious faith.

As a Christian minister, I found the insensitivity (of the city leaders in the article) to our religious diversity appalling. I have given prayers at the opening of legislative sessions in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and at many other public meetings. Because of my appreciation of all religions, or of people with no religion, my prayers were never sectarian or Christian. In no way did I compromise my own faith by including all people.

My fellow UCC minister, the Rev. Barry Lynn, is right on the court’s ruling: “The Supreme Court just relegated millions of Americans, both believers and nonbeliever, to second-class citizenship.”

Willis Merriman, Minneapolis

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