It’s part of “operational guidelines,” he said. If the government buys your food, you don’t have the right to pray over it, only to eat it. Eat it and be grateful. Just not to God.

Georgia Senior Citizens at Port Wentworth’s Ed Young Senior Citizens Center near Savannah were caught praying before their meals. They may have even mentioned the name of “Jesus.” That has not yet been confirmed. The praying, however, was stopped. No praying before meals. Praying ticks Uncle Sam off, apparently.

Tim Rutherford, Senior Citizens Inc. vice president, said some of his staff recently visited the center and noticed people praying shortly before lunch was served. Rutherford said his company provides meals like baked chicken, steak tips and rice and salads at a cost of about $6 a plate. Seniors taking the meals pay 55 cents and federal money foots the rest of the bill, Rutherford said.

How offensive! Seniors praying before they eat? Someone’s gotta nip that in the bud. And Rutherford apparently volunteered for the job.

“We can’t scoff at their rules,” he said of federal authorities. “It’s a part of the operational guidelines.”

Federal authorities laid out “operational guidelines” that Georgia Senior Citizens are welcome to eat the food. Enjoy. Yum. But praying before their meal will not be tolerated. Really? That’s really how federal authorities are spending their energy?

On Thursday, the prayer was replaced with a moment of silence, a change currently being reviewed by the Port Wentworth city attorney.

“It’s interpreted that we’re telling people that they can’t pray, but we aren’t saying that,” he said. “We’re asking them to pray to themselves. Have that moment of silence.”

The center’s visitors are reportedly “rattled” and upset about the intrusion into their private lives. But that is the price of compassionate government. Accept the government’s help, expect the government’s absurd interference.

“For me to look at their eyes and tell them they can’t thank God for their food, it’s unheard of – I can’t take it,” said Glenn Jones, the mayor for the Georgia Senior Citizens at Port Wentworth’s Ed Young Senior Citizens Center. He is now considering ending the city’s contract with Senior Citizens Inc.