Perez column well-thought, compassionate
Thank you, Steven Perez, for a thoughtful, reasonable and compassionate response to Supervisor Gitlin’s calculated attack on his colleague, Supervisor David Finigan (“Coastal Voices: Prayer should not be used divisively,” June 21).
We elect our supervisors to work together to solve our county’s problems, not to use their positions to vilify one another. Dale Bohling, on the other hand, submitted a somewhat alarming letter on the same topic. I admit that Mr. Bohling’s frequent, ostentatious displays of his ability to use polysyllabic words can be mildly amusing.
However, I found the last paragraph of his latest letter to be rather worrying. He states that Mr. Gitlin “can be counted on to stand his ground,” then asks the reader, “Are you with him or against him?”
What sort of confrontation is lurking in Mr. Bohling’s imagination?
Finigan doing right thing to support freedom
Kudos to Board of Supervisors Chairman Finigan for supporting religious freedom by opposing Supervisor Gitlin and his cadre pushing to start Board of Supervisors meetings with a “non-denominational” prayer. Since the other three supervisors haven’t asked for prayers to be on the agenda, apparently they are not interested in this issue.
As one of the approximately 20 percent who have religious beliefs other than Christian or none, I object to including any sort of religious prayer or observance during the supervisors’ meetings. The United States Supreme Court’s City of Greece v. Galloway decision in essence says that where there is a tradition of violating the First Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion then that violation may continue.
Including such religious practice forces all to either at least tacitly be part of that practice or be conspicuous by absenting ourselves during such practice. Either way this is religious discrimination.
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [or Pharisees] are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” — Matthew 6:5–6. Many Christians and Jews also object to public prayers, even non-denominational.
There is a simple, easy alternative. All those who wish to have a religious practice do so before the meeting and outside the Board’s chambers.