Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wisc. Atheists: Stop Prayer in West Virginia City

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is demanding that all prayer be forbidden prior to the start of civic meetings in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  City officials say that voluntary prayer is NOT illegal and it will continue.
"I think it is ridiculous that [the FFRF] feel they can run people's lives.  Last time I looked, this was not China or Russia. It's America. . . . If you don't want to say a prayer, sit down and don't say a prayer."
-- Mayor Jimmy Colombo
For background, read 13 States vs. ACLU in Appeals Court over Civic Prayer even though the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Allows Christian Prayer in Civic Meetings

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Christian Invocation Outrages California City Council

Muslim Prayer Ends Invocation Policy in North Carolina

Atheist Prayer Complaint Costs Mississippi School over $7500

School and Atheists Agree: Christians Must be Restricted in West Virginia

However, A Texas School Supt. Tells Atheists to Go Fly a Kite

-- From "Parkersburg council asked to drop pre-meeting prayer" by The Associated Press 7/7/15

[Council President J.R.] Carpenter and Councilman John Rockhold say the prayer is voluntary and the council isn't doing anything illegal. . . . Carpenter said the meetings are not officially called to order until after the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance have been said.

"That is a voluntary prayer and pledge prior to the meeting," he said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Group: Prayer change inadequate" by Gretchen Richards, Parkersburg News and Sentinel 8/13/15

The [FFRF] letter, addressed to Parkersburg City Attorney Joseph Santer, is the second sent to the city on behalf of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization which claims it seeks "to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church."

In response to the letter, Santer advised Parkersburg City Council to conduct all prayers prior to starting the meeting, to no longer invite the public to participate, and to not have any one elected official lead the prayer.

In the July 31 letter, the foundation claims the changes advised to council are insufficient. The letter claims that prayers said prior to calling the meeting to order are still attributable to the council and considered a form of government speech.

Parkersburg City Council will continue to say the Lord's Prayer before meetings, [Mayor] Colombo said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Group wants prayer stopped" by Michael Erb, Parkersburg News and Sentinel 7/7/15

City Clerk Connie Shaffer, who began working for the city in 1972, said the prayer has been a part of council meetings for as long as she can remember "and probably 100 years before that."

She said the practice did change slightly three or four years ago.

"If you'll notice, we have it before we call the meeting to order," she said.

Use of a prayer to open a meeting is done "in Congress, in the United States Senate. They do it in Charleston" at the West Virginia Legislature, [Mayor] Colombo said. "The prayer is optional and is done before the meeting starts. I don't see anything wrong with that.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Atheists, Satanists Force Bible Ban in Florida Schools

And read Atheists Force Bible Bans at Colleges Across America