Opening Prayers in Maryland Senate Spark Debate

January 13, 2003

Source: Sun Spot,0,3783858.story?coll=bal%2Dlocal%2Dheadlines

On January 13, 2003 the Sun Spot reported that "three of the five opening prayers in the [Maryland] Senate this week ended with a reference to Jesus Christ, which some members of the assembly believed to be inappropriate... 'On this question of religion, I think it's important to recognize and to remember that we are an ecumenical body and that all of our members at any time coming to the podium should represent their views and represent the views of all the others in this chamber and in the rest of the great state of Maryland,' said Sen. Leonard H. Teitelbaum, a Montgomery County Democrat who is Jewish... Similar debates have arisen in both chambers of the General Assembly in the past and separation of church and state continues to be the source of heated disputes throughout the nation... The National Conference of State Legislatures and such interfaith organizations as the National Conference for Community and Justice urge lawmakers and clergy to use ecumenical approaches to prayers before the general public."