* Re "Reconsider an Act That Divides Us," Ventura County Perspective, Aug. 13.
In the world in which we live, often fraught with troubles and pressures, I have always found it a comfort and an honor to be a part of a public prayer. On occasion, I too have noticed people who seem detached during prayer, and I have always felt it a person's right to either join the prayer or indulge in a moment of personal reflection.
The writer of this article cited Matthew 6:5-8, in which Jesus instructed people to pray secretly. At that time, Jesus had observed religious leaders who used their positions to elevate themselves in the public eye by making a show of their prayers. The passage can be taken literally, but I believe Christ's intent was to teach people not to lose sight of the purpose of communion with God. If Jesus intended public prayer to be wrong, why then did he say a prayer of thanks before he fed 5,000 people (Matthew 14:19)?
Many of our forefathers shared a deep faith in God. I believe the freedom of speech, as noted in the First Amendment, protects people who enjoy commencing an assembly with a prayer as well as it does people who do not wish to participate.
The vast majority of people in our country believe in some form of higher power. Do you really believe God will continue to bless this nation if the simple act of a short public prayer is condemned and prohibited under the heading of "offensive?" I think not. I say we need all the prayers we can get.