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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dear Annie: Gracefully declining to saying grace

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: This has been bothering me for several years. I am 75 years old. I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” every morning in elementary school. Those days are gone. I was slow to accept that the pledge and prayer might offend, but I’ve come around.

Now, I find that I dislike being forced to bow my head, when I’m out at a restaurant with friends or at their homes for dinner, before meals whenever someone at the table announces, “Let’s hold hands and bless this food!” Of course, no one objects, but I’ve wanted to speak up on many occasions. I know I would be judged as an atheist, which I’m not. I often will hold hands and look around to see who else is peeking.

I feel it is out of place for anyone to force prayer on others unless it is in their own home.

I soon will have a large group at my home for a dinner meeting. I know someone will do the “join hands” bit. I want to say: “My home; my choice. Let’s eat!” I’m fine with the criticism I know I’ll get (mostly behind my back), but I feel strongly I should not be forced to publicly pray in my own home. – Old Codger

Dear Old Codger: No, no one has the right to force you into saying grace, at home or anywhere else. But you don’t have the right to force anyone not to say it, either. The next time that you find yourself in this situation, I suggest sitting silently and taking a few deep breaths. In this fast-paced world, we could all benefit from such pauses.

Dear Annie: As soon as you can, please inform people that if they know of someone who snores to be tested for sleep apnea. It may save a life. – Joe P.

Dear Joe: I am happy to put the word out. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, symptoms of sleep apnea can include heavy snoring, excessive daytime fatigue, difficulty with concentration or memory and waking during the night feeling short of breath. Left untreated, it can increase one’s risk for stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious conditions. Treating sleep apnea can drastically improve one’s quality of life. Visit for more information.

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