Is there a place for prayer before public, civic events such as the town council meetings? That's the question the Galloway Township Council... has been wrestling with for over a year.

At the latest Council meeting, a local pastor stood and delivered an impromptu prayer before the proceedings.  Rev. Tom Douglass from the Highland Community Church in Galloway feels strongly about the place for prayer before the meetings.

Galloway's Township Council is concerned with staying within the scope of the law and possible lawsuits that might be filed if they don't.

The First Amendment not only allows citizens the freedom to practice any religion of their choice, but also prevents the government from officially recognizing or favoring any religion. This principle of separation of church and state has always been the subject of heated debate in America.

The Supreme Court gave some latitude for prayer with its 1983 decision that having prayer before public meetings was acceptable and was considered a communication of shared values rather than an explicitly religious practice.

The latest idea floated by a committee for the Township Council, calls for a per-scripted opening invocation, with no deities to be named.

Such a prayer isn't sufficient for Rev. Douglass, who is quoted in the Press of Atlantic City saying, "this country was founded by Christians and we can't pray Jesus' name?"

If so, then what about the beliefs or lack thereof from other members of the community who are not Christians or religious?

Let me know what you think! Please vote in the adjoining poll and give hear your feedback about the issue in the comments section below.