Hartford CT says no to Muslim prayer before council meetings

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C'mon Connecticut, you're supposed to be one of the sane states. Sheesh.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Officials in Connecticut's capital city say they won't include Muslim prayers before council meetings after getting mostly negative feedback from the public.

The reversal has led the state branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to plan a prayer vigil Monday night at Hartford City Hall in protest.

Some city councilors suggested including Islamic prayers in September along with convocations from representatives of other faiths.

City councilors had planned to go ahead with the Muslim prayers despite negative e-mails. The Hartford Courant reported they decided Friday to hold an interfaith moment of silence instead.

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  • nosedigger

    I see a problem with talking to imaginary friends on my dime. Why don't they just have a moment of silence before they get to the meeting if they want? Maybe in their car. Just the act of pretending to acknowledge there is a diety is offensive to some people, plus gov't is wasteful enough... let them talk to their zombie jewish carpenter on their own time.

  • extremeatheist

    *facepalm" Keep church and state very very separate.

  • Backdup

    My tax money wasn't meant to keep idiots doing something stupid before every council

  • Best Coast

    Dude: Other than being an Equality Marriage state, WHAT makes you think that CT was supposed to be sane. Def the biggest assholes in the country are from CT.

  • http://johnhummel.net John Hummel

    >But a prayer in a government meeting, if spoken aloud, or silent, or whatever, does not make it an establishment of religion.

    It would seem that the court system disagrees, which is why there is no prayer in school. The second you open up with "Dear God" you're acknowledging belief in some sort of divine being - and this is why the US courts have tossed out prayer in school.

    >An establishment would have to be voted on in Congress, just like every thing else.

    Welcome to the 14th amendment, which extends the 1st amendment to every level of government, including local. Which is why the courts have been able to rule that "prayer in school" and "prayer in council meetings" *is* establishing religion.

  • CYbro

    Wow, a contradiction in the bible!
    *chirping crickets*

  • http://twitter.com/roydavidfarber Roy (David) Farber

    First off, prayer is NOT worship. I posted definitions in another reply. It can be used to worship, but is not in and of itself a form of worship. It is a form of communication. Lets say that I hate God. So I pray to him and tell him that. Am I worshiping him? No. If I call my professor up and ask him for guidance because he his much wiser than I, am I worshiping him? No. It is simply a communication of needs, desires, feelings, etc. regardless of who I am communicating with. It doesn't have to be worship.

    You are forgetting that people are made up of their ideas and experiences. Just because you take out the prayer doesn't mean that you are going to change the fact that people will always bring their religious ideas and beliefs into a government meeting.

    Look, I am not saying that we should allow any or all manner of prayer in government meetings. That would be ridiculous and time wasting. I am not even saying that we *should* have a moment of silence. I like the idea because it is non-intrusive. I am saying, though, that regardless of what someone believes or doesn't believe, we should be respectful of ALL faiths and religions. If someone were required to get down on their knees and say a short fixed prayer before they were allowed to speak to a large group, I feel that we should let them. It is a matter of respect for what our fellow man has taken to heart.

    It is up to the religious person to find their moment to pray, and I am not saying that it should be during a time when a government meeting is taking place. But a prayer in a government meeting, if spoken aloud, or silent, or whatever, does not make it an establishment of religion. An establishment would have to be voted on in Congress, just like every thing else.

    I would actually much prefer that they do it before ( as I stated in the first place ) the scheduled time of the meeting, by themselves, silently. Even during the meeting, so long as it was personal, by themselves, silently. I would have no problem with either.

  • Tallon

    If the Forefathers that did have Balls in 1776 was alive today. There war would be with 99% of what I see and here on comments and on news what you can and cannot do. Freedom to speak, Act and do. With the exception of when you harm another. And if your Harmed by someone speaking he believes in god. Or prays. Then you need get your ass some panties and a bottle to suck on.

  • http://twitter.com/roydavidfarber Roy (David) Farber

    Yes. You can worship through prayer... But prayer is not in and of itself considered worship.

    You are right that it may be a waste of city resources to take ten seconds (or however long) of silence to respect those of religious conviction in their endeavors to make their beliefs guide their lives. Would you find anything wrong with allowing them to do it just before the meeting?

    Mind you, I could actually care less. I am just taking the objective point of view here.

  • Tallon

    you can dictate wether you can pray or not pray cause you dont believe or you do believe...but when it all comes down to it. to tell another if they can bow there head and pray or not ..in schools or anywhere..You are a Communist. You are Control Freak. Now if you can find 1 resolve that any person that bows his head and prays or speaks that he believes to be justified to harm anyone. Then speak what that is. So next lets get rid of presidents and government cause we had a MAN or Woman twist the freedom acts of this Country? Do you see how retarded that sounds. No I dont Pray. No I dont believe. But I do know the difference between a ranting animal and Freedom.

  • http://twitter.com/roydavidfarber Roy (David) Farber

    Simply going by the definition of prayer. I did not say that you cannot worship through prayer.

    Webster:
    a (1) : an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought <said a="" for="" of="" prayer="" success="" the="" voyage=""> (2) : a set order of words used in praying
    b : an earnest request or wish

    Princeton:
    -the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving); "the priest sank to his knees in prayer"
    -reverent petition to a deity
    -entreaty: earnest or urgent request; "an entreaty to stop the fighting"; "an appeal for help"; "an appeal to the public to keep calm"
    -a fixed text used in praying</said>

  • Bianfrankie

    I find it frightening that we have policy makers basing their decisions on a 2,000+ year old book written by people who believe that there is an invisible man, with a beard, in the sky. And this invisible bearded man told one group of people that they were chosen, then centuries later, told another group that the chosen group was wrong and his son really has the right message, and then told another group that the other two groups were wrong and this other guy really, really has the right message. For real this time.

  • Votemeup

    We have this thing called separation of church and state, someone should refresh them on it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YOS7OO2BWOS5AT2KQHJIGJOJLU Alex Baez

    Just don't do prayer before meeting. Simple as that and you don't have to get into separation of church and state issue. Hartford should be sued and they are going to lose big time.

  • religious_one

    My religion requires my prayer to be audible or my god won't hear it. How dare you suggest a thing such as this. Discrimination!

  • http://johnhummel.net John Hummel

    *You're not (fixed that for you)

    But considering Christians believe Jesus said to ask for things such as "give us this day our daily bread" and "ask and it shall be given to you" - sounds like favor asking to me.

  • Rer

    according to the bible your not supposed to ask god favours

  • Katie

    As far as I'm concerned, nobody should be allowed to perform any religious act inside of a government building not intended for that purpose. Period. Religion should have no place in government whatsoever.

  • Corey Petersen

    >Religious people pray for the wisdom to make the right decisions. It has nothing to do with who's deity is "more awesome". And prayer is not worship.

    You're speaking for all religious people? I'm not sure all 5 billion religious people on the planet would agree with your definition of prayer.

  • http://twitter.com/jinchoung jin choung

    goddamn people are stupid... THIS is why we should keep religion out of government! gahhhh... "an interfaith moment of silence instead" is the most hilarious attempt at compromise i've ever read. just call it what it goddamn is goddamnit!!! A MOMENT OF SILENCE. PERIOD!!! WTF is an "INTERFAITH" MOMENT OF SILENCE?!?!?!?!?! goddamnit!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QR3HK2IRVPAHF6CBRYF36M3S7Y Randy S

    Birthplace of George W. Bush. Enough said.

  • Rdwhahb

    How about a moment for silent reflection? That way people that want to pray can pray and those that don't believe in such things can use the time to think or rest their eyes.

  • http://johnhummel.net John Hummel

    "And prayer is not worship. "

    That is clearly not a true statement. The whole point of prayer is to reach out to a divine being, to ask for their assistance and to basically say "You are mightier and smarter than I am." If that's not worship, I don't know what is. You can certainly do that wherever you want - except in a government meeting which is not to "establish religion." Want to pray for the wisdom to make the right decisions? Parking lot. Your car. Your home. Your lawn. Go to the park and do it there.

    But the second you step into the room for a government meeting - from city council to congress - that space is for We the People - not for people to bring in their ideas of what Yahweh or Allah or Visnu want.

    That space is elsewhere - not in the government offices since that would be to "establish religion." And last time I checked, we are a nation of laws and people, not gods and commandments.

  • Sassyfrass

    prayer CAN be worship, but the semantics don't really matter here. the point is that anyone who wants to pray for wisdom or whatever should do it at home before the meeting. you would think it's unprofessional and even rude for a council member to come in without his shoes and socks on and put them on at the start of the meeting, because he should have gotten ready at home. if prayer is part of getting ready, do it before you get there!! that moment of silence is irritating to those who don't pray and a waste of the city's time (which is a waste of city resources). it's like waiting for someone to get his notes together before speaking at a conference, should've had that ready before they walked in the door.

  • Michael Furmedge

    I'm with John Hummel on this one, what do the christians or muslims spending time with their imaginary friends have to do with government business?

  • Righteous Dude

    Anyone who wants to pray should do it in private before the meeting. That's what the Bible tells Christians to do (Matthew chapter 6, verses 5-6). Praying in public is what Muslims do.

  • http://twitter.com/roydavidfarber Roy (David) Farber

    I honestly see no problem with prayer before a meeting, so long as it is silent, and isn't forced on anyone. I like the idea of a moment of silence for those who are religious.

    @John Hummel: Religious people pray for the wisdom to make the right decisions. It has nothing to do with who's deity is "more awesome". And prayer is not worship.

    Religion is a way of life. You can't take that out of the way people make choices, not even in government. Just because that person believes and thinks differently than another without religion doesn't necessarily make it any less valid.

  • nc

    If there are no other faith's prayers said, then I agree. If there are prayers of other faiths represented, then why not?

    I've read comments on other posts (elsewhere) where some idiot claims that "Freedom of Religion" is for Christianity only. (what - all others pay cash? Or - what???) gads.

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  • http://johnhummel.net John Hummel

    And this is why the atheists here in Tampa are pushing that there *shouldn't* be prayers before council meetings. These places are meetings for government business, not worship or for fighting over who's divine being is the more awesome. You want to do that - go into the parking lot and fight it out like children, while the grown ups will run the meetings and decide policy.