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RC City Council Discusses Prayers At Meeting

February 4, 2013, 10:10 PM by Derek Olson

RC City Council Discusses Prayers At Meeting

It was standing room only at Monday’s city council meeting in Rapid City.

Dozens of people lined up to comment on the city council's practice of invoking prayer at the beginning of each meeting.

The city is taking a another look at the prayers after a request was made by the Freedom From Religion Foundation asking it to stop.

“Based on our community values and standards we do believe it's wisdom to maintain the invocation practice and the possible institution of a policy as long as it doesn't censor our freedom of speech,” pastor Greg Blanc said, who supports city council prayers.

“By all means, appeal to your faith.  Pray if it gives you strength and direction, but there's no reason for it to be done in a way that excludes good and honest, non-theistic citizens in their own city council chambers,” Cole Bedford said, who opposed city council prayers.

The council could end up making the prayers an official part of meetings by way of an ordinance.  But that could lead to a court battle with Freedom From Religion Foundation, which believes the practice is a clear violation of the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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