According to several sources, a prayer station was recently set up on a public beach on Cape Cod. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) is asking that the permit for the prayer station, which was approved 4-0 in a town hall meeting on August 3, not be renewed in the future.
The prayer station was located at Old Silver Beach, a public beach in Falmouth, Massachussetts. The prayer station’s permit ended this past Friday, but a resident is applying to have the prayer station return.
Rebecca Kratz, FFRF staff attorney, said:
This definitely seems like it was crossing the line of separation of church and state and it seems like an endorsement of religion.
The above video gives some quotes from people on both sides of the issue. One woman sums up my feelings:
“I think it is a little out of place to be honest with you. If people want to pray they will go to church or wherever they go to pray,” said Brockton resident Darcy Britton.
While another one does bring up a valid point:
“It does surprise me. This is a place of free speech and free religion, you’d think it could take place out in open air,” said East Longmeadow resident Olga Demoracski. “I don’t understand why some people would have a problem with it.”
The problem, in my opinion, is that this is an event approved by the city as a public event. While people generally have the right to freedom of speech, the fact that this was a government-approved event on public land does tend to give the impression that the town approved of the church (United Life Church) that applied for it. This is different from someone speaking on their own in the public square or a protest, it’s government-sanctioned speech. If Satanists applied to have a booth at the beach, would it have been approved? I doubt it.
Do people really need a prayer station at a public beach of all places?!? Maybe they should also come up with a new drink called "Genuflects on the beach". But seriously, religious fervor is getting way out of hand here in the U.S. when people want to set up prayer stations on beaches.