Why are people from Wisconsin telling us what to do in South Carolina?
by Weldon Clark
I attend most every Pickens County Council meeting, and they start their meeting with an invocation. The US Supreme Court has ruled it is perfectly legal. Just like it is legal for the US Congress, the state legislatures and all county councils in the country to start their meeting with an invocation.
I see no reason why it would be illegal for the school board. There is little difference between what the county council does in its meetings and what the school board does in theirs – both bring up issues of public concern, debate them and vote on them.
A school board meeting is not a classroom full of students where such prayers have been found to be illegal. The school board is a deliberative body, like the county council, city council, state legislature and US Congress where the Supreme Court found those prayers to be legal.
That is the school board’s legal defense. School board members are elected by and work for the people and they vote to spend our money. The board works for the people and the people want the board to defend the opening innovation at their meetings and we don’t mind the board spending our tax money to do it.
The purpose of the invocation is not to establish a religion in this county or place the government’s seal of approval on religion, so the invocation doesn’t violate the first amendment. Nor is its purpose to coerce anyone attending the meeting to believe in something they don’t’ want to believe. If any person doesn’t like the opening invocation, he can come to the meeting 10 minutes later or just get up and leave the room for that 2 minutes when the innovation is being said.
Such opening prayers have their roots going back to the first Congress of 240 years ago. The school board has been doing it for years too. It is a tradition the people of this county want the board to continue. Its purpose is we recognize there is a higher power that bonds all of us, and the purpose is to bring citizens of all backgrounds together to participate in the workings of their government to a positive end.
There is nothing illegal about that.
Like many of you, I am tired of the excessive Federalism in our country. Why are people from Wisconsin telling us what to do in South Carolina? They are threatening to take their interpretation of a federal document (the US Constitution) to the Federal Court system, in order to force us to do what they want. It is time for this to end.
Very Truly Yours,