Once upon a time many of our public meetings opened with prayer.
Some of my contemporaries even recall when each school day began with prayer. That wasn’t the case when I was in school, but not because anyone objected. I grew up in an age when everyone I knew believed in God, and if they didn’t go to church, they admitted they should. As a boy I was taught to pray at bedtime and before meals, a ritual of faith reinforced by our TV screen cowboy heroes like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.
Though we may not have talked about it outside of Sunday school, we were unashamedly Christian throughout the Ozarks. Worshipping under many banners — Methodist, Baptist, Christian, et al — we shared a common faith and generally turned to the King James Bible for enlightenment and inspiration.
Yes, we were what was later dubbed “WASP” — White, Anglo Saxon Protestants — and unashamedly so. As a boy I knew just one family in our rural neighborhood who attended a Catholic church, but thought nothing of it. As far as I knew, I never met anyone of the Jewish faith or a Moslem believer. Neither did I ever hear anyone deny the existence of God. Early on I embraced the soldiers’ adage, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”
You don’t have to literally be in a foxhole to understand it. Life is rife with foxholes of other sorts. I marvel than anyone can endure them without God.
Circling back to my original thought, maybe it’s safer if we don’t open public meetings with prayer these days. Some folks in the crowd might be offended if we didn’t include their gods, as well as ours,
Sorry folks, God is still God — the one and only.
I knew that even as a boy. The years since have only proven it absolutely true.
Copyright 2023, James E. Hamilton; email email@example.com. Read more of his works in Ozarks RFD 2010-2015, available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from the author.
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