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I don’t know whether to laugh or...

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the thought of city

governments all over California asking Burbank what to do about their

own prayer problems. So far, this lawsuit has cost Burbank about

$22,000 and a lot of time, and the fight goes on.

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Why?

Why do any legislative bodies need to start their meetings with an

invocation, prayer or other appeal to the spirit world? I know, “it’s

traditional.” We have inherited a lot of our lawmaking practices from

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the Romans of 2,500 years ago, when the world was still thought to be

flat.

Before every meeting of the Roman Senate, they sacrificed some

helpless animal, and the entrails were read to see if the gods had

decreed that the day was auspicious for making important decisions.

So maybe we should kill a chicken and examine its liver Tuesday

nights. Sounds gross, doesn’t it?

I see no difference between augury and the practice of asking some

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imaginary spirit to “bless” the proceedings of what should be nothing

more than a business meeting. It’s just another form of placating

something that some people still insist has the power to strike us

down for offending it. And it’s a chance for the local priests and

shaman to grandstand.

Welcome to the 21st century, folks. We need to outgrow this

infantile dependence on the impossible, and get on with real life.

Why not save us all some money, and a lot of bother, and just call

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the meetings to order without all the frou-frou?

Or is that too sensible?

ELAINE HAMPTON

Burbank


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