It is ironic, indeed, that nothing is more likely to insight a brouhaha than the subject of prayer. A case in point is the recent upset about the change of policy regarding group prayer at the Meals on Wheels dining site in Kennewick. There are those who feel strongly that their religious rights are being threatened by discontinuing the practice. A few pertinent points are in order.
First, it is impossible to prohibit prayer, just as it is impossible to prohibit thought. The objection comes in its public demonstration or voiced content. Those who see a public "table grace" as a sacred right would be appalled if a Muslim spread out a prayer rug or a priest swung an incense pot and prayed in Latin before the meal.
Second, it is a great temptation for the one voicing the public prayer to express his or her own political or doctrinal bias. There is even danger that a little "holier than thou" sentiment creep into the prayer.
Third, a public demonstration of prayer, be it at a football game, a public ceremony or a restaurant, can be more that a little ostentatious. That is why Jesus told his disciples, "... when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret." (Matt. 6:6)
-- WILBUR REES, Richland