Prayer Before Public Meetings Under Review by U.S. Supreme Court

A routine practice around Texoma is now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, prayers before governmental meetings.

The court heard oral arguments in the case Wednesday.

The case arose over a suit filed by two women over the formal prayers at a New York town board's meetings.

The women say the practice amounted to and endorsement of a single faith, a violation of the constitution's establishment clause.

Pastor Mike Rucker does not believe Christian prayers in governmental meetings violate any laws. 

He says like it or not most of our nation's heritage is Christian. 

But that doesn't mean we should exclude other religions from such practices.

He says it was a once in a lifetime opportunity when he gave the opening prayer for the first summer session of Congress in June.

“I don't think you are violating any law by praying in public meetings, if you don't want to listen don't listen, you aren't going to offend me,' he said.

Wichita Falls City Council and Wichita County Commission meetings open with a prayer, as do Wichita Falls Independent School District Board of Trustees.

School Board President Kevin Goldstein says to him it's a no brainer to open with prayer.

“I've always felt when you are gathering as a group no matter if it is at a school board meeting or any place that you should always remember the Lord and thank you for what he has blessed you with and help him to guide us in decisions that are made,” he said.

The women who filed suit in Greece, New York, say the town is endorsing a single faith, which Rucker says can be avoided by inviting those of all faith to offer a prayer.

“Freedom of religion means all. Inclusive. Not freedom from religion,” he said. 

Still though, separation of church and state is a debate he says that won't go away.

“That controversy is going to stick forever it's not going to change, there is always someone that has an opinion on something but that makes our world go around, controversy,” said Rucker.

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