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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Borough Assembly Meeting Prayer

By Janalee Minnich Gage


June 08 2015
Monday PM

IT May Be Time that we all begin to spend more time at the Ketchikan city and borough council meetings, and pay more attention to who's influencing who....

I ain't saying it s wrong and I ain't saying it's right, but I find it rather interesting when a prayer is brought to the borough assembly that request that God grant the vote on several items on the agenda in the favor of the person who prays out loud in front of the assembly by one Fred Adams, who signed up under community comments. This individual used John 14:13" And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." To say that God is in control of how this governing board voted and to think that this was the only reason that the borough assembly and mayor voted in the favor of everything he named in his pray is stretching it. What I saw watching it was every one of these being voted on in the favor of one ordinary man, Fred Adams.

Don't get me wrong I am not offended by the idea of prayer at the beginning of a meeting or other public events or governing programs. However; I am offended by the very nature of this prayer. That no matter how you look at it, it was a serious violation of separation of state and church. Just as you are offended and my grandmother is turning in her grave because I used the Word Ain't in the first sentence of this letter addressing the government.

This one action by the borough allowing this prayer to continue and then vote in the favor of the man who prayed for it makes me leary and worried regarding what this assembly stands for. A fear that brings to mind that which Thomas Jefferson the Third U.S. President who wrote, Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. (Letter to the Danbury Baptists, January 1, 1802).

Not to say that I don't agree with some or most of how they voted, I do not feel that it is in the best interest of our government to allow a pray of this nature to happen again, and I am sure there are several community members who may not agree with the vote regarding the agenda items of the June 1, 2015 meeting at 5:30pm. What I am afraid of is that the wall has begun to be built, and the merit of those who sit on the assembly will be question based on this one episode and the allowance of this pray that blatantly asked the borough assembly to vote on his behalf or his beliefs.
Maybe I am the only one who found it to be morally wrong and in violation of our constitution

If you do not know what I speak of I advise you to go to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough page and listen for yourself. Monday June 1st, 5:30pm Borough Assembly Meeting Prayer

Janalee Minnich Gage
Ketchikan, Alaska


About: "Janalee Minnich Gage is a photographer who recently did a show in October 2014 at the Main Street Gallery Called: Look, See, Hear, & Listen, which can currently be viewed at the Southeast Discover Center. The show is in Regards to the treatment of those with disabilities. Janalee lives with a disability and is a lifelong resident of Ketchikan; she is the daughter of Janet and John Minnich, Grand Daughter to Jane & James Church, Thelma and John Minnich, Great Granddaughter of Jack and Elaine Talbot, and the Great -Great Granddaughter of Harriet and Forest Hunt. She attended Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles from 1986 to 1990 to study a Bachelor in Photography. She is a life long resident of Ketchikan and Alaska. "

Received June --, 2015 - Published June 08, 2015

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