Tuesday, February 15, 2011

City Continues to Pray Despite Atheist Lawsuit Threat

The Yakima City Council voted . . . to continue praying at meetings, although it plans to make changes to reduce the risk of getting sued.

-- From "Yakima City Council votes to keep praying" by The Associated Press 2/2/11

KNDO reports the council directed the city attorney to draft a disclaimer saying the prayers are not intended to impose religion on anyone.

The council prayer has been challenged by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The Madison, Wis., group promotes separation of church and state.

From "Committee Forms New Policy on Prayer in Council Meetings" by Hayley Guenthner, KIMA CBS-TV29 (Yakima, WA) 2/1/11

The Yakima City Council's Rules and Procedure Committee created a policy they believe will protect them from law suits regarding prayer at their meetings.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Mayor Micah Cawley told KIMA they believe praying before meetings instead of during is their best bet to avoid further legal threats. The prayer will also continue to be unspecific to any religion. The council will vote on whether or not to adopt that policy at their next meeting.

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From "City Council likes prayer model" by Chris Bristol, Yakima Herald-Republic 2/1/11

With little comment, the council agreed Tuesday to adopt a model policy offered by the Alliance Defense Fund, a group of lawyers whose stated goal is to defend freedom of religious expression.

Last week, a lawyer for the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., reiterated her earlier threats to sue the city if the council does not change its current practice of opening meetings with invocations to a Christian God and Jesus Christ.

. . . the ADF's model policy states the Founding Fathers recognized rights endowed by a "Creator," and asserts the courts have allowed prayer on the basis of custom and requests for "divine guidance."

A legal memo from the ADF accompanying the model policy suggests the City Council could be on rocky ground if invocations continue to exclusively refer to a Christian God and Jesus Christ.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.