LETTERS: Stick with moment of silence, not invocation, at City Council meetings

One council member said she didn't want to pray to 'fake gods.' But who decides which gods are 'fake,' letter writers ask?

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  • | 9:00 a.m. March 24, 2023
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Who decides which gods are 'fake'?

Dear Editor:

I was very saddened to see the headline, "I don't want to pray to fake gods."  And it made me wonder how you would define a "fake god." 

Would it be any god other than the one you believe in? Are other "Christian" gods OK?  Is a Jewish or a Buddhist one not real? What about Hindu? Or a belief one has never been exposed to? Who decides?

I think the City Council had better stay with their current moment of silence. Or, even better, do their contemplation before they arrive at the meeting.

Barbara Ceryak

Flagler Beach

Moment of silence accommodates all

Dear Editor:

The potential new Palm Coast City Council meeting format that begins with some type of religious convocation reminds me of the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." 

The previous format for meetings has served the city and "we the people" very well for a very long time. We have so many issues to deal with in the city; perhaps spiritual guidance is in order, but should be left up to the individual to decide if and when that time has come.

The expression of a particular religious faith could be seen as the city endorsing that faith if it is expressed more often at meetings than other beliefs. 

Take for instance the Christian faith. If a priest, pastor, or minister were to speak each week praising Jesus, this would give the impression that a belief in Jesus is the predominant faith of the City Council and therefore the city. 

As a secular society by design, America must be able to accommodate all faiths and even no faith if we are to be true to our basic values, which have served us well for these over 200 years.

Best to leave well enough alone and focus on the more concrete task of improving our city, and leave to the houses of worship the task of improving our souls.

Jeffery C. Seib

Palm Coast

Pontieri's remarks divisive

Dear Editor:

Given that it made the headline of the Palm Coast Observer's edition last week, the paper may have been as surprised as we should be by a City Council member’s remark during a recent discussion about whether the council should have an opening invocation. 

Currently, the council opens its meetings with just a moment of silence, but, an invocation, as Webster defines it, is the summoning of a deity. 

Even though council member Theresa Carli Pontieri supported retaining the moment of silence, her reasoning was provocative and offensive. 

She feared that the deity that could be summoned by those giving an invocation would not be a deity to her liking. She stated that “people don’t want to pray to fake gods, and I don’t want to pray to fake gods either.” 

We can assume that Pontieri would likely have some difficulty defining “fake” gods, without denigrating and offending about half the world’s religious, but non-Christian, population. 

Just when we thought things had maybe calmed down a bit regarding the council's history of unwelcome divisive controversies, that history has unfortunately resurfaced with Pontieri’s troubling intolerant comment. 

And it's a comment that harkens back to her City Council candidacy, when we learned that she was forced to resign from the Sheriff’s Office for her controversial racial remarks, which were likewise deemed offensive and divisive.

Robert Gordon

Palm Coast  


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