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Every denomination needs one of these...

Naples UCC minister confused about public prayer

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Naples Daily News didn't miss the irony when Rev. Dr. Ronald M. Patterson of Naples United Church of Christ offered a prayer at a Naples City Council meeting and then six months later wrote them to say that public meetings were no place for prayer. From the Naples Daily News:
On June 6, the Rev. Ronald Patterson stood in front of the Naples City Council and prayed.

“Loving creator, bless we pray for this gathering in this city,” said Patterson, the senior minister at Naples United Church of Christ. “Give us all the strength to live with compassion and integrity. Hear us holy one. Amen.”

Six months later, council members received a letter from Patterson in which he wrote that “public meetings do not exist as an occasion for prayer.”

Acting as the chairman of the Coalition of Progressive Religious Voices, Patterson wrote to council expressing concern that “public prayer offered according to the beliefs of a particular religious congregation invites controversy and is divisive.”
I've always looked at debates about prayer as pretty idiotic. If someone wants to pray in public, they should. If they don't want to pray, they shouldn't. Nobody should feel compelled to pray in public - it kind of defeats the whole purpose of prayer. But these days, the debates about public prayer really aren't about prayer, increasingly it's about politics and agendas.

Update: Someone on the message board suggested that there is a difference between "ecumenical prayers" and prayers that reflect a single belief. What distinction is there between an ecumenical prayer and "one that focuses on one religion" to a Jew, Muslim or atheist? It's an idiotic distinction that I think the author of the article understood, but wasn't buying into. And as far as I have seen, Americans United doesn't make that distinction either. I think this is a simple matter where a politically motivated minister got tripped up in his own politics.
posted by UCCtruths, Monday, November 12, 2007


It's obvious from his prayer that he was praying to the "unknown god" mentioned in Acts 17... unfortunately the good "Reverend" didn't realize that that's not a good thing!
commented by Anonymous ReformationUCC.org, 2:01 PM  

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