Prayers and politicians


In the shadow of mourning at the Cathedral of St. Paul today, about 100 people were in a more celebratory mood.

The Minnesota version of a National Day of Prayer was held on the grounds of the Minnesota Capitol. Minnesota politicians were not at all shy about participating, despite the ongoing controversy about linking government with religion. Last month a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that a federal government declaration of a National Day of Prayer violated the U.S. Constitution.

Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, subbing for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, read his proclamation declaring a day of prayer for Minnesota, then stood by as a pastor prayed over her and declared the superior power of Jesus.

House Speaker Margaret Kelliher was asked to speak, but declined, opting instead to join other lawmakers as the pastors prayed over them. Before that, however, Sen. Terri Bonoff, who is Jewish, offered a Hebrew prayer, “so we can feel included.”

Not everyone was thrilled with the event’s timing. Sen. Linda Higgins posted this on Facebook:


Disrespectful? You decide.

After the funeral at the Cathedral, the cortege did not pass the Capitol grounds where the rally was being held.

  • Heather

    “then stood by as a pastor prayed over her and declared the superior power of Jesus. ”

    This is where I start to feel really unsupportive of a national day of prayer. If people can’t keep religion and government outright separate, can’t they at least refrain from declaring superiority? It’s not a theocracy, folks.

  • Ann

    If Higgins wouldn’t have such a closed mind she’d have seen an open, non-partisan event that celebrated faith, Sgt. Bergeron’s life and sacrifice, and people’s unity. And prayer.

  • MR

    One problem with outdoor rallies (notably on the capitol grounds) is that if you’re just walking nearby (like to the procession) you can hear and have some semblance of understanding of the music, but it’s impossible to understand what is being said. So my impression, for lack of better information, was that it was really odd to be playing happy music near a funeral, and even when I stopped to try to hear the speakers, I couldn’t tell what they were talking about.

  • ricky weeth

    I was the guitarist in the band at this event. we meant no harm or disrespect to the participants in Sgt. Bergeron’s funeral. We passed what we thought was a procession when we arrived at the Capitol a good hour and a half before we began performing. I personally had no idea that there was a procession outside taking place during our performance. perhaps had we been made aware, things might have worked out differently. My apologies to those offended.

  • Bonnie

    They politicians should have all been inside the Cathedral honoring a fallen public employee. No brainer.

  • Steve

    The idea of a national day of prayer is funny to me. Considering how large the many religious denominations in this country are, isn’t every day a national day of prayer? I would think people would get together and pray on a day-to-day basis, if they truly believe in their particular faith.