The Pottstown Borough Council voted 6-1 Monday to start its public meetings with a prayer.
The council had been observing a moment of silence, but the new council president, David Garner, floated the idea of opening the twice-monthly council meetings with prayer.
Some people may be upset at what they perceive as the encroachment of religion in the public square, but I don't see any harm in opening the meetings with a prayer. We could all use a little prayer.
No one from the audience at Monday's meeting spoke against the idea, although Councilman Mike Wenzel, who cast the dissenting vote, said he believed the previous practice of having a moment of silence to have been adequate, according to reporter Evan Brandt.
Two residents spoke in favor of the opening invocation, Brandt reported.
"Every community has problems and challenges and you need all the help you can get from the community and also from God," said Terry Hyland, a pastor at Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown. "We need to be involving and asking for God's blessing in all the decisions we make. If you are an atheist, it shouldn't bother you because all we are wasting is one-and-a-half minutes of your time."
Another Pottstown resident, Don Read, applauds the idea.
"I was getting tired of the irritating, politically correct moment of silence," Read said, adding that the effort by "liberal, secular, humanists to keep God out of government" is not what the nation's founders wanted and is not right "for a moral and religious nation."
"If it were up to me, we would have a plaque with the 10 Commandments in front of borough hall," Read said.
Read the full story in today's edition of The Mercury.
Nancy March, the editor of The Mercury, has a different take on the Pottstown prayer issue. Read her perspective on her blog, The Daily Overload.