South Whidbey Record


LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Respect shown for prayer

June 13, 2013 · Updated 2:41 PM

To the editor:

For those of you who did not attend the Island County commissioners’ work session on June 5, when Commissioner Kelly Emerson’s prayer proposal was discussed, you should know that her proposal was resoundingly rejected by the other two commissioners, notwithstanding that both of them have very strong Christian beliefs.

Of particular note were the very rational, well reasoned, compassionate and heartfelt comments of Commissioner Jill Johnson. The essence of her position was that while she prays to one particular god, she does not believe it is right for her to force people who happen to believe in a different god or gods (or no god) to have to participate in a prayer to her chosen god, and vice versa.

What is so refreshing about her position on mandatory public prayer is that it is not based on the technical niceties of constitutional analysis, but on her overriding understanding that this country was founded on the principle that no one particular set of religious beliefs or lack thereof is embodied in our founding documents. All American citizens are free to worship whatever god or gods they choose, or to not even acknowledge the existence of a supreme being, and the government has absolutely no business trying to change this founding principle.

Bravo Commissioner Johnson. Thank you for putting common sense and the respect for the beliefs of others ahead of ideology.

Nels Kelstrom


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