I’ve been attending a non-religious event that has begun having a (Christian) prayer at the beginning.
I did tell the person in charge I think it’s totally inappropriate.
He asked me to talk about that, and I did, but I felt as if I didn’t do a good job.
I had a hard time because this thing of public praying seems like such a big issue.
And as big as it is, it’s also very personal.
I’m not against prayer. I live a life filled with gratitude. How can anyone look at where we live on this gorgeous little planet or see the amazing people among us and not say a simple thank you, whether you believe in a god or not?
I also need lots of help maneuvering through life in this dimension, so it seems I ask for help nearly as much as I say thanks.
What I am against is making prayer public in any non-religious setting, because public prayer is always prayer representing somebody’s religion.
And I think I might have figured out why I’m against that, without all the strappings and explanations of the political realm.
I believe the table has a seat for each of us, every one of us, without exception, as we are, with no expectation that we must change in some way. (And no, I don’t always practice this in my thoughts or with my voice; it is an ideal for which I strive, a belief I practice the best I can.)
I believe in inclusivity. It’s not that I just believe in inclusivity; it’s that I know love is the answer to everything, and love is by its very nature all inclusive.
Religions are by their very nature exclusive.
So, here it is, as personal as it can get:
I, Susan Jane Whitlow, cannot go into a religious event knowing I am accepted exactly as I am, because I am not.
It’s that simple.
It leaves me out, and if it leaves me out, I know it leaves out others as well.
Nobody wants to feel left out, and public prayer, even in a place with as dominant a religion as Bristol has, leaves people out.
I want to be inclusive and I want to be in places that are inclusive.
So please, don’t make non-religious events religious by introducing prayer into them. Keep them as inclusive as possible.