2016-01-31 / Insight

Several jurisdictions begin government meetings with prayer

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Lapeer County Commission Chairman Gary Roy leads his fellow commissioners in a prayer just before a recent county commission meeting. 
Photo by Krystal Johns Lapeer County Commission Chairman Gary Roy leads his fellow commissioners in a prayer just before a recent county commission meeting. Photo by Krystal Johns LAPEER — Government and prayer have had, especially since the mid-20th century, a somewhat rocky relationship.

When the first Continental Congress convened in September 1774, the founders offered a 295-word prayer that invoked Jesus Christ and asked “that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people.”

Thirteen years later the founders ratified the Constitution, which included a provision for the separation of church and state and created an uneasy tension that’s lasted 240 years.

The First Amendment, Lapeer County Commissioner Lenny Schneider noted, provides for “freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”

John Biscoe, who has been the Lapeer County Administrator since 1988, said a prayer at the beginning of county commission sessions was already a long-standing tradition when he arrived on the scene. “The County Commission Chair asks someone right before the meeting to say a prayer,” Biscoe said. “From what I’ve seen it’s always been respectfully done, not overly long. It’s generally focused on public safety and the community.”

He said commissioners generally ask for “help in making good decisions,” but he added, “every now then there’s a loss in the community” and commissioners will focus on that.

Schneider, who’s in his seventh term on the county commission, said “prayer has never been an issue.” He added, “This country was founded on a recognition of creator. You are okay to turn a higher authority.”

However, he added, it’s also important to be

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2016-01-31 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.