Board meetings in Orleans Township, Michigan, will begin with prayer starting in April. The board voted 5-0 on Tuesday with no opposition discussion from members.
Supervisor Jim Patrick proposed the idea. In addition to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each meeting, a member of the board should also deliver an invocation, Patrick suggested.
“I brought it up, as I know of another nearby township that has been doing this for years,” he said. “It’s been bothering me, because in America in general, we’re doing so much to take God out of everybody’s life,” Patrick said, as reported by The Daily News CC.
Trustee Linda Patrick supports the decision to include prayer at the start of each meeting. “I know the Ionia County commissioners’ meeting was also tonight, and along with all of their other meetings I think they have down there, they do have an invocation with the Pledge of Allegiance,” she said.
Jim Patrick said he’s disappointed that public prayer is diminishing all over, “From statues and plaques being removed at courthouses, it’s happening everywhere you look,” he said. “I just think that this is an easy, quiet way to show that we still like to have that. I could go on about it for a long time.”
Patrick supports the idea behind the founding of the United States and said: “I just think it’s a good thing for us. The country started this way and we should keep it this way as long as we can.”
Freedom From Religion Foundation is a strong opponent of prayer at government meetings. According to the foundation's website, “It is inappropriate for public officials — many of whom have tax-paid positions and all of whom take an oath to uphold secular constitutions — to schedule prayer at government functions, or open government meetings with prayer and religious ritual.”
The Foundation argues, “When government bodies lend their power and prestige to religion, this amounts to a governmental endorsement that exclude one-fifth of the population — today one in five adult Americans is nonreligious.”