Mayor Deke Copenhaver
530 Greene St, Room 806
Augusta, GA 30901
Dear Mr. Mayor,
I attended the June 28 Commission meeting to hear about the
lake dredging issue. To my great
displeasure I heard the “prayer” by Father Jacek Szuster. It was more of a provincial political
statement than it was a prayer. I was
embarrassed for the Jews, Muslims, non-believers and even the non-Catholic Christians
in the room. Indeed, there may have been
Catholics in the room who were embarrassed by Father Szuster’s display of
Father Szuster opined about freedom of religion and made a
statement about his church’s protest on that issue, essentially a broad swipe
against the practice of birth control.
Unfortunately, Father Szuster’s idea of freedom of religion appears to
be one of his freedom to impose his beliefs on others. In his “prayer” he also attacked humanism
directly. Humanism is a form of
religious thought that is protected by the first amendment to the Constitution
as are Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American traditions and other
non-Christian traditions, all of which were expressly excluded from Father
Szuster’s “prayer” by his mention of the Gospels and “our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ.” In a government meeting
where inclusiveness should be the goal, I believe it unwise to begin the
meeting with an exclusive, partisan diatribe described as “prayer.” While some prayers, thoughts, meditations
might be acceptable to the general public, it is difficult, at best, to compose
such a work. And Father Szuster’s
attempt was most definitely unacceptable.
Father Szuster and others who might try on this robe of
government prayer might benefit from reading Matthew, chapter 6, verses 5 and 6
or Luke, chapter 18, verses 9-14.
In the protection of our first amendment freedoms it is best
to keep religion and government completely separate, allowing neither to invade
the space of the other. On the issue of
holding a prayer at the beginning of commission meetings, the Central Savannah
River Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State recommends
that the “prayer” be quietly dropped from the agendas of Commission meetings and Commission Committee
Frank Carl, President
Central Savannah River Chapter
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
2 thoughts on “Letter to the Mayor of Augusta”
Fr. Szuster did exactly what he should have done, with all due respect, sir. Moral relativism…you ought to look it up. And for the verse you cited on Matthew 6:4-5, you’re not understanding that correctly. It doesn’t tell you to shut up and pray only in private, but to do that in addition to praying in public. It’s saying don’t simply pray in public for a show…be a reverent man and pray hard in private as well where nobody else can see you. I can guarantee you that being a PRIEST, he is doing this.
If you’re pushing so hard for church and state separation….let me give you one example of how that does not work even when you think it does. We as religious Catholics are forced to pay taxes that support abortion, so we are unwilling accomplices to the crime which is against humanity and against God. How can that be separation of church and state if we are forced to pay for it??? Also, birth control as you’d mentioned in your comment is also against the ten commandments as you’re not God and you can’t control which embroys get fertilized and which don’t. You’re sorely mistaken if you think that these morals apply to Catholics but not to you, sir. Morals are absolute, not relative.
Fr. Szuster, keep it up! Preach the gospel even to the unbelievers. Even the founding fathers of our great nation knew that God was to be obeyed as they included God in the declaration of independence. Now, where’s separation of church and state?
I imagine if he was invited to open this session with a few words and prayer that it should reflect his thoughts and his community that is a vital part of our area, and when the time comes for you to speak and open with a few words and prayer, then you will probably be offered the same opportunity, as well. Good day! ❤