Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not Now

Surprised. Yes and No.

My first surprise a few weeks back was the discovery that disgraced former Port Huron Police Captain Brian Moeller had been elected to Port Huron’s City Council and selected by the council to be Mayor of Port Huron. I have purposely avoided reading the Times Herald and making any attempt to follow any of the trials and tribulations of the failing City of Port Huron. I don’t remember why I finally bookmarked the online version of the Times Herald. Now, I scan the Times Herald and both Detroit newspapers every day.

And, today, surprise surprise. Brian Moeller has contacted a right-wing Christianist group to assist the city with the city council’s descion to continue having an Opening Prayer at each of its public meetings. It seems that an “ordained” Atheist wishes to be allowed to offer the prayer. Moeller decided to promote a city ordinance/policy that would only allow ministers listed in the telephone book to take turns at offering the invocation.

As far as I am concerned, a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance are all that is needed to open a public meeting in Port Huron, St. Clair County, and Michigan government. Mr. Moeller’s personal religious affiliations and beliefs should not have any influence in city government. Unfortunately, it may not be possible for Moeller to separate his duty to serve ALL the people from his compulsion to practice his version of Christianism. I respect Moeller’s sincere beliefs, however, I can never support his actions in this matter.

Money quote:

When the Port Huron City Council decided Monday to adopt a policy on prayer before meetings, they dropped the city into a debate that is nationwide in scope and as old as the country itself.

Alan Lewandowski, the lone council member to vote against the resolution, is not alone among those who find prayer inappropriate for an elected government.

"Politics and religion just don't mix," Lewandowski said. "Right now is not the time to be doing this."

Officials in all other St. Clair County cities seem to agree with Lewandowski. No other city opens its council meetings with prayer, and officials from several said they can't remember a time when they did. They do, however, observe a moment of silence before meetings, say the pledge of allegiance or do both.

They have "art" (a video clip from a City Council meeting).

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