Mary Ellen Pike has offered sound advice for her colleagues on the Cuyahoga Falls City Council. The council president has highlighted the value of inclusion as members have looked for a way to resolve the dustup stirred by Terry Mader, who represents Ward 8 and serves as the council chaplain.
Mader stepped into the chaplain position in January and chose to end the opening prayer at council meetings with the words: “In Jesus’ name, we pray.” Many people hold to the same Christian faith. Yet others do not, and that is where Mader and the council have run into a problem. Such a public entity should not be seen as favoring one religious belief over another.
What has invited religions to flourish and enriched this country is the tradition of tolerance for so many faiths. That is what the founders encouraged through principles of religious freedom, and what Mary Ellen Pike echoes when she emphasizes the concept of inclusion.
Cuyahoga Falls is one of a long line of cities and other public entities that have faced such a question. Akron not too long ago made its adjustment, the invocation now delivered by local religious leaders of many faiths, the practice allowing for moments of silence or inspirational quotes. A city benefits from celebrating its diversity, its rich and varied texture, or the idea that there is no room for exclusion.