Friday, June 15, 2012

Prayer Returns to Texas Town, Ignoring Atheists

After about four decades without prayer at city meetings, the Weatherford council voted 4-1 for the Parker County Ministerial Alliance of Protestant pastors to schedule prayer leaders, despite threats from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

For background, read Prayer in America: Hidden Faith, or Public?

-- From "Weatherford Council Ushers In Invocation, Pledge Before Meetings" by Jason Allen, CBS KTVT-TV11 (Dallas/Fort Worth) 6/12/12

The Parker County Ministerial Alliance asked for the move last month. There was some discussion in a work session last week of adding at least a moment of silence. Scott Wilson from All Saints Episcopal Church told the council they didn’t go far enough.

“We urge you not to falter under the tyranny or the bullying of a small minority whose thoughts are so different from the majority of us,” Wilson said during public comment.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the city urging it to avoid constitutional concerns. The possibility of a costly lawsuit was what caused Mayor Pro-Tem Waymon Hamilton to be the only vote against the motion.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pledges and prayers are back at Weatherford council meetings" by Lance Winter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 6/13/12

. . . The prayers will last one minute. The Parker County Ministerial Alliance, a group of Protestant ministers, will arrange for religious leaders to give the prayers. The alliance has said it will include representatives of other faiths who want to take part.

"While we understand this effort to satisfy a variety of citizens -- for us it's not adequate," [Wilson] said. "We know that members of the City Council pray privately before they begin their sessions and certainly that should be beneficial for those that pray. But a corporate prayer goes a great deal further; it becomes beneficial to the whole city."

"Our City Council is a pinnacle of leadership of Weatherford and effectively for all of Parker County, and a prayer to God at this meeting is asking him to guide us, provide for us, preserve our culture, our families, our schools and indeed to bring prosperity to our lives," Wilson said.

"When I look at the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has a prayer prior to starting each session and the Senate and the House of Representatives, both in the United States and in Texas, have a prayer to each of their meetings, it's something that I would very much like to see us do," [Councilman Jeff] Robinson said. "Praying on your own is great, but when you pray as a group I think great things can happen."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "City council approves prayer, pledge" by Brian Smith, The Weatherford Democrat 6/13/12

A standing room only crowd, that included several members of the Parker County Ministerial Alliance, which asked the council to consider the items, was heavily in favor of the items. Alliance President Scott Wilson, who said he felt like he “was taking up for God,” said the council wanting a moment of silence simply wasn’t enough.

“Prayer is beneficial to the whole city, saying we are under God,” Wilson said.

Robinson brought out the fact that the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and Congress open their sessions with prayer, saying it shouldn’t be an issue here. In closing, Wilson praised the council for its service and asked them to allow the alliance, which said at a previous meeting it would have ministers conduct the prayer, to do this for them.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.