Reflecting on a offered prayer at the Democratic National Convention that attempted to be inclusive of various perspectives of the Divine, Debra Bendis has some brief comments and questions about the nature of prayer at public events over at Theolog, the blog of The Christian Century. She asks:
abandoning Christianity? Or, alternatively, can we offer Christian
prayer in public forums without being obnoxious?
I'm not sure that we can answer her questions affirmatively. But it is not so much for the reasons she posits (she seems more concerned about the ecumenical/interfaith aspect of such a prayer). You regular readers know that I have a wicked separation of church and state streak running through me. As I commented over on her post, it seems that prayer is an act of faith for people of faith. What business, then, does an act of faith have at a civic event intended to speak to and be for all people of the community, regardless of faith?
For what it's worth, I've previously outlined my take on what the relationship of prayer to civic events/causes should be in the post, Praising God, Honoring Country (with the follow-up post More Thoughts on God & Country).