ACLU Sues to Stop Clergy ‘Religious Messages’ at Meetings

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop a suburban Atlanta county from opening its meetings with prayers that mention “Jesus” or other “sectarian” references, claiming the invocations represent government favoritism of Christianity.

The three-judge panel of the court, however, was immediately skeptical of how the ACLU expected prayers to be crafted without appering to favor one religion over another.

“What about King of Kings?” Judge Bill Pryor asked ACLU lawyer Daniel Mach in the case’s hearing last week. “Is that sectarian?”

“What about Lord of Lords?” Pryor persisted, interrupting the ACLU lawyer’s arguments. “The God of Abraham? … What about the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad?”

Judge Charles Wilson wondered just how far Mach was suggesting the county go in editing people’s prayers.

“As a practical matter, how do you draw the line?” Wilson asked.

He also asked what steps the ACLU suggested the Cobb County, Ga., board of commissioners take before its regulation became “some sort of censorship” or “just government prayer.”

At one point in the hearing, ACLU attorney Mach pointed out that the invitations Cobb County sends to guest clergy already ask that the prayers not proselytize or disparage other religions. According to the Associated Press, Mach suggested that the invitations simply be amended to ask the clergy to refrain from invoking “religious messages” at all.

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One Response to “ACLU Sues to Stop Clergy ‘Religious Messages’ at Meetings”

  1. Joe says:

    No prayers (spells, since that is all they are)before meetings would work just fine.

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