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Selectmen and Women:
Starting the Town Meeting, or any official Town event, with an invocation / prayer is a violation of the separation of Church and State.
In a Supreme Court ruling Justice Stevens wrote " the delivery of a prayer (at a public event) has the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship.
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State." Thomas Jefferson.
Citizens should not have to participate in a religious act to participate in Democracy.
Please uphold the separation of church and State and do not commence Town Meeting or any official Town event with a prayer.
I would appreciate a response as soon as possible prior to the May 2012 Town Meeting.