Tyranny of the Minority

At Monday’s SiltBOTs meeting (2/28), the Mayor and Trustees appointed a new trustee, Terry Breslin. She was the only applicant for the trustee position recently vacated after Joe Sos resigned for health reasons. Breslin has lived in Colorado since 1980, and in Silt since 2006. She is a part-time bookkeeper. In her interview she seemed generally supportive of the Board’s actions over the past year and commended them for balancing the town’s budget. She expressed a desire to contribute to her community by participating in town government. Mayor Dave said in his comments that he had met privately with Breslin. The SiltBOTs approved her appointment unanimously. She was sworn in and seated immediately.

During Board comments at the previous meeting on 2/14, Trustee Fleming and Mayor Dave both said they would like to have a prayer at the beginning of the meetings. They asked Town Administrator Pam Woods to have Town Attorney Mike Sawyer look into the legalities.

At Monday’s meeting, Sawyer advised the Board there was nothing wrong with invocations at public meetings. However they could not be discriminatory. He cautioned that once prayer is allowed, any representative of a religious sect or denomination would be allowed to lead the prayer or invocation if they so requested. Sawyer pointed out that the Rifle City Council opted for a moment of silence which has worked well for them.

A lengthy discussion followed where it was pointed out that Congress opens each day in session with a prayer. The Garfield County Commissioners recently voted in favor of a prayer at the beginning of each meeting. The Grand Junction City Council has been doing invocations at the beginning of their meetings for three years.

Trustee Nicky Leigh said she is against prayer at public meetings, would opt for a moment of silence, but preferred neither. Trustee Paul Taylor said he is not in favor of prayer at public meetings. Trustee Sonny Fernandez said he is not in favor of prayer at public meetings but when pressed by Mayor Dave, said he would consider the moment of silence. New Trustee Terry Breslin said she was in favor of prayer. Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Aluise said he did not approve of prayer at public meetings but would not oppose the moment of silence. Trustee Fleming and Mayor Dave are obviously for prayer since they brought it up in the first place.

As I tallied it, there were four members against prayer, and three members in favor, so any motion for a prayer before the meetings would have been voted down. For some odd reason they decided to “compromise” and a motion was made to have a moment of silence after the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each meeting. The motion passed 6 to 1. Fleming voted against the motion because he wanted a prayer.

But that’s not compromise, that’s appeasement. The vote was not “split” as Mayor Dave described it. He and Fleming lost. The other trustees bowed to the tyranny of the minority with their vote on a moment of silence.

And the SiltBOTs wonder why more people didn’t apply for the open trustee position. What a ridiculous waste of time.

I thought it was interesting how their discussion included the first amendment, the founding fathers, and the history of religious freedom. Fleming brought up John Adams and Aluise talked about the Free Masons. But nobody bothered to mention what Jesus said about public prayer in Matthew 6:5-8.

5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Can I get an amen?

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7 Comments on “Tyranny of the Minority”

  1. bowen roberts Says:

    i won’t support this kind of manipulative tactic by even using the word in jest. too many are choosing sides based on the illusion that those who pray the loudest own the higher moral ground. there are a thousand killing fields that expose this lie. yet those who ‘fear the wrath’ are too scared to oppose. hence a siltbot pre-emptive ‘compromise’. the mayor is studying neo-con strategy. anyone with a twisted sense of ethic & access to the internet can ‘take the course’. remember ‘sucess through intimidation’ ?
    just got better…BR

  2. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Indeed, that is precisely what I set out to expose.

  3. Joseph Muenich Says:

    I like this. A LOT!

  4. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Come on Joe, you can do this — gimme an Amen …

  5. Rick Aluise Says:

    Peggy:

    I thought about giving the Amen, Peggy, but I won’t just yet.

    I wouldn’t even have used the scripture quote you suggested, since it would have led to more scripture quotes like, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My father in heaven” Matthew 10: 32-33 or “…let your light shine before others…” Matthew 5:16. I could go on and on with quotes that would be used after the quote you suggested. Then a wonderful scripture debate would have ensued.

    My concern is that our history is being rewritten by radio talk show hosts who actually refer to George Washington as the “Christian father of our country” or “the First Christian.” I actually heard one make both statements. Another quote from the same host was that this country was founded on Christianity. People actually believe this nonsense, and a little history lesson seemed necessary, since these misconceptions are widespread even in our own town. I am absolutely amazed that a radio talk show hosted by someone who has no credentials of any type can foist their ridiculous understandings of history on an entire nation.

    With regard to a prayer to any deity or a quote of any scripture at any public meeting, I am adamantly opposed, even though I am well aware it is not illegal. With regard to a moment of silence, I have no inclination one way or the other. I can live with it or do without it. It’s meaningless when compared to a vocal prayer of any type.

    I almost wish a prayer had been approved. If it had, I would gladly have placed bets on how long it would have taken to remove the prayer session after one of those offering the invocation referred to the “She-God of the Universe”, engaged in an American Indian chant, performed a witch’s incantation or invoked some other non-Christian deity. It might have proven very interesting!

    I can assure you I won’t quote any scripture from any source – especially one that will lead to a myriad of quotes from Jesus that are seemingly contradictory. The last thing I want is a scripture quotation and interpretation debate.

    And to that, I do say AMEN!

    Rick

  6. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Truly I say unto you, that wasn’t my point. My point was that the entire exercise was pointless.

  7. Rick Aluise Says:

    Pointless, except to those who have bought into the notion that this country needs to return to its “Christian Roots.” This is the impetus for all the efforts to install prayer at public meetings across the country, and it is misguided at best. I call it the GB effect.

    Peggy, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.

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