Paris City Council meeting begins with ‘shortest prayer in history’

Monday night, at the start of the Paris City Council meeting, the Rev. Bob Bush, a local minister, gave what he said would surely be “the shortest prayer in the history of this chamber.”

He was at the podium for just over a minute, but the prayer itself took only six seconds.

“Members of the City Council, you’re going to hear the shortest prayer you’ve ever heard, because I’ve noticed, some of my colleagues, how long they pray,” he began.

“But this is the greatest country God has ever let live yet. People think that there’s one minister’s alliance made up of white people that’s got a black president, and the other one is a black council that’s got a white member,” said Bush, who is white and a member of the NAACP.

He said Joe McCarthy, who is black and in 2011 completed his second four-year term on the council, was quoted last year as saying, “I look for the day when we won’t even have a Black History Month because we’ll just all realize that we’re just so lucky to be here in America.’”

Bush continued: “And, you know, we are privileged to be here, and this is the greatest country. So you’re now going to hear the shortest prayer in the history of this chamber, I think, and maybe one of the best ones:

“Almighty God, thank you for the United States of America. Amen.”

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra.com

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Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.