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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ind. Decisions - "Speaker's was voice of reason on prayer issue"

Matt Tully, of the Indianapolis Star, has a quite good column today on Speaker Bauer's handling of the legislative prayer issue. A quote:

Someone also must have prayed for common sense, because Bauer showed plenty of it during his prayer and during the start of the legislative session. It was quite a turn from 2006, when the then-GOP majority overreacted to a court's ruling that some House prayers had crossed into proselytizing.

Instead of making a scene by suspending official House prayers, as the GOP did last year, Bauer read an inclusive, four-sentence prayer that covered all the bases -- humility, responsibility and a plea for guidance. It wasn't a prayer to remember, but that's why we have churches and synagogues.

Instead of exaggerating and prohibiting official prayer, as Republicans did in 2006, Bauer went for compromise. He said the carefully worded offering, which the state attorney general had looked over, would have to do while an ongoing challenge of past prayers winds through the courts.

Unlike some, Bauer understands that a federal judge prohibited prayers advancing a specific religion, not all prayers.

Of course, there was some grumbling from those who miss the revival-like days of past House sessions. But most of Bauer's colleagues appreciated the time he spent crafting a logical compromise.

"There was an effort to exaggerate this (last year) for political purposes," said Rep. David Orentlicher, D-Indianapolis. "There was also the misperception that we weren't allowed to pray. The (court's) limitation was in fact a very small one."

Here is a link to earlier ILB entries on the lawsuit, Hindricks v. Bosma. Oral arguments on the legislative prayer lawsuit took place before the 7th Circuit on Sept. 7, 2006. The ILB is anticipating a decision by the 3-judge panel any day now.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 14, 2007 12:16 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions