The Herald has asked the wrong question. The prayers that were offered before a Meals On Wheels lunch were, to quote the Herald, "led by a rotating group of seniors," not by the staff. The problem arose when some attendees objected to prayer before the meal. So the real issue is, should there be prayer in this public place before the meal?
Giving thanks to the one who provides our food (who else can command the weather that benefits the crops?) has historically been a part of the American way since before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock! (Squanto, who taught the pilgrims what crops to grow and how to farm them was a believer in the Christian God.)
Gratitude to and appreciation for the benevolence of God has always been part of our culture. It is unfortunate that we have become so "politically correct" that this now is viewed as inappropriate, even offensive! Ours has been a tolerant society. Our troops have fought in part to protect our freedom of speech -- "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death the right for you to say it."
For the majority of people gathered to share a meal provided by Meals on Wheels, the non-denominational prayer (led by a rotating group of seniors, remember?) is a significant part of the experience. They should be able to participate in this expression of appreciation to the Lord for the abundant food that allows this meal and for those who provided and prepared the meal.
If such a declaration of gratitude offends a few, perhaps some earplugs can be provided so their sensibilities are not insulted by the prayer. They should not expect that their minority opinion be allowed to prevent the expression of appreciation the majority find vital.
-- DIANE BAGLEY, Burbank