Sunday, January 15, 2012

Atheists Sue to Stop Lord's Prayer in Delaware

Federal Judge Leonard P. Stark heard arguments from atheists wanting to stop the 41-year prayer tradition at Sussex County Council meetings, but defenders oddly responded that the Lord's Prayer is NOT uniquely Christian and therefore not unconstitutional.

For background, read Atheists Sue to Stop Prayer in Delaware

UPDATE 5/16/12: Judge Says Lord's Prayer Unconstitutional in Delaware

-- From "Judge Hears Arguments in Sussex Council Prayer Lawsuit" by Michael Lopardi, WBOC-TV16 1/11/12

Four residents, including a [liberal ELCA] Lutheran minister, claim the council's use of a Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer is unconstitutional because it favors one religion.

Americans United [for Separation of Church and State] is arguing the case on behalf of the plaintiffs: Rev. John Steinbruck, Barbara Mullin, Julie Jackson and William O'Connor. The plaintiffs have all attended council meetings in the past and were offended by the council's use of the prayer, said Americans United.

The organization, which filed the case in June 2011, said the council's choice of prayer excludes people who do not share that faith and pressures members of the audience to take part.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Delaware lawsuit delves into Lord's Prayer" by Chad Livengood, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal 1/12/12

At the start of each Tuesday morning meeting, Council President Mike Vincent stands up and nods to his four colleagues, signaling them to bow their heads and begin to recite the Lord's Prayer.

The county's attorney contends the council's recital of the Lord's Prayer is permissible under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1983 ruling in Marsh v. Chambers, which found in a Nebraska case that having a government-funded chaplain say a prayer before a legislative session was constitutional.

[County attorney J. Scott] Shannon argued the prayer is generic and that Vincent, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, is not proselytizing or asking the audience to join in.

Shannon said the language of the Lord's Prayer is tolerable and contains language that fits with widely held beliefs of people of other faiths.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.