Optional prayer
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Tribune's Aug. 5 article about Utah political leaders pushing to keep prayer on the agenda of government meetings noted that some local governments do not require a prayer to begin their sessions. Instead, they allow prayer as one of several options from which the presenter may freely choose.

Three cheers to Bountiful, Centerville, Draper, Farmington, Heber City, Salt Lake County, Syracuse, Vernal, West Bountiful, West Valley City and other entities that refuse to mandate prayer.

I wish that just one major Christian denomination in the United States objected to government-imposed prayer and would offer a statement similar to the following: "Prayer must not be on the official agenda of government meetings. However, when such meetings begin with opening exercises, the various options from which to choose should include prayer."

The above approach fosters free speech. It is not a coercive endorsement of religion. If Christian churches were to embrace such a position, it would go a long way toward ending the acrimony over public prayer.

Steve Warren

West Valley City