Opinion: “Better Ways to Handle a Prayer Breakfast”

February 20, 2006

Source: Lexington Herald-Leader


On February 20, 2006 the Lexington Herald-Leader ran an opinion piece by Nancy Jo Kemper, the executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches. She comments on the Governor's Annual Prayer Breakfast held recently by the Christian Business Men's Club in Kentucky. "The CBMC of the Bluegrass, formerly known as the Christian Business Men's Club, may surely hold a prayer breakfast for state government officials and employees, and it is perfectly legitimate for it to be an entirely Christian program, so long as it does not appear to be a state-supported event... The CBMC [should not] call it 'The Governor's Prayer Breakfast.' A better title might be The Christian Business Men's Annual Frankfort Prayer Breakfast. If the governor wanted to participate as an individual, he certainly could do so. However, if the event is to be called the Governor's Prayer Breakfast and if the governor is the tacit host... the event ought to be religiously inclusive and respectful of the religious plurality of Kentucky, no matter what the religious affiliation of the sitting governor... There are many practitioners of a variety of world religions who are Kentuckians. We have always had a vibrant Jewish presence, and in recent years, we have an increasing population of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'is, Unitarians, Sikhs, Jains and others. These people add rich threads to the tapestry of our shared life in Kentucky. If the governor wants the tradition of a prayer breakfast to continue, it could be a splendid opportunity for us to grow in appreciation of one another's religious perspectives and practices... I commend it to the governor and commit the Council of Churches to the task of bringing together the diverse religious groups that could plan such an event."