I am appalled that the Supreme Court has upheld the practice of legislative prayer [front page, May 6]. What place does prayer have in the conduct of the government’s business? What do “history and tradition” have to do with tolerance? Even if the content of the prayer is changed daily to reflect the variety of religious beliefs in our country, some individuals do not believe in the power of prayer or the gods beseeched through prayer.

“Ceremonial prayer,” as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy deemed it, is still prayer. Legislatures would be just as effective without it. A moment of silence would serve as a fine substitute.

Ruth Salinger, Bethesda

The justices should have checked with Jesus on whether it is okay for local councils to pray before getting down to business. According to the book of Matthew , Jesus admonished his followers to not be “hypocrites” who pray in public so “that they may be seen of men.” “Pray to thy Father . . . in secret,” he said. “ . . . [Y]our Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” How ironic that the words of Jesus were ignored in rendering a verdict favoring Christian prayer.

J.A. Steiner, Rockville