This week, a group of legislators gathered together at the statehouse (along with the Governor and the Attorney General) to announce the expansion of the Legislative Prayer Caucus,  One of the organizers of the event told WABI, "I think that everyone's right to worship as they choose is one of the fundamental privileges that have made our nation great and it needs to be preserved,"

We couldn't agree more.

Everyone has the right to practice the religion of their choice in this country, or to practice no religion at all.  The government must not be allowed to prohibit anyone's ability to practice their religion or to engage in prayer.  Here at the ACLU of Maine, we've challenged restrictions on religious items, religious headcoverings, religious books, and the use of property for religious purposes over the years--all successfully.

Unfortunately, activities like the Legislative Prayer Caucus can have the effect of making some people feel like their religious observances or practices are less valid.  There is an enormous diversity of religious practice here in Maine, and our elected officials ought to strive to show that they represent all Mainers, not just the ones who pray in the same way or just the ones who pray at all.

Religion succeeds when the government stays out of it.  It would have been preferable if this group had made it clear that the government of Maine represents all the people of Maine, whether they pray or not.