Should We Pray Before Public Meetings?

Jake Neher/WDET

Floor of the Michigan House

There’s been a lot of debate recently surrounding the national anthem being played at the beginning of sporting events.

But an even longer-standing debate in America surrounds the recitation of prayers at the beginning of public meetings.

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth talk about how that debate plays out here in Michigan.

Recently, courts ruled on a lawsuit out of Jackson County involving that county’s board of commissioners’ practice of beginning each meeting with Christian prayers and asking those in attendance to participate. In September, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the board did not violate the U.S. Constitution in doing so.

But some onlookers say that ruling conflicts with other court rulings on the matter.

When we’re talking about that (phrase) ‘separation of church and state,’ we’re talking about — in the legal sense — the Establishment Clause in the Constitution. So, what does it mean to establish a religion?” asks Neher. “It’s still legal gray area.”

The reason that it’s such an important issue is because it’s all about feeling comfortable participating in the Democratic process,” says Roth.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

This post is a part of MichMash.

Each week, WDET's Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio's Cheyna Roth un-jumble Michigan issues and talk about how statewide news stories affect you. 

About the Author

Jake Neher

Detroit Today - Producer & Special Projects Reporter

Jake Neher is a producer & reporter for Detroit Today   Follow @GJNeher

Cheyna Roth


Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.   Follow @Cheyna_R

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