Wednesday, 20 June 2012 04:17

Texas Town Defies Atheist Group, Reinstitutes Prayer at Government Meetings

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A small Texas town has taken a bold stand for prayer and patriotism. CBS News reported that on June 12 the city council of Weatherford, a west-central Texas community, voted four to one to bring back the tradition of a regular invocation, as well as the Pledge of Allegiance to both the state and U.S. flags, following a 37-year absence of the rituals.

The move was pushed by the Parker County Ministerial Alliance, a local group of Protestant ministers, who said they were saddened by the nearly four-decade omission. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the group has taken the responsibility of arranging for local religious leaders to offer the one-minute invocation at the council meetings, and has promised to allow leaders of other faiths in the area to participate if they wish.

The Star-Telegram noted that some residents had proposed a moment of silence instead of the prayer, which Father Scott Wilson (pictured at left), rector of Weatherford’s All Saints Episcopal Church, aggressively opposed before the council. “While we understand this effort to satisfy a variety of citizens — for us it’s not adequate,” testified Wilson, a member of the Ministerial Alliance. “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.”

Wilson emphasized that an invocation would demonstrate that Weatherford is a city under God. “Our city council is a pinnacle of leadership of Weatherford and effectively for all of Parker County,” he said, explaining that “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 urged the council “not to falter under tyranny or bullying of the small minorities whose thoughts are so different than the majority of us.”

Naturally, the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) entered the fray, sending a letter to the city council admonishing its members that reinstituting the invocation may place the city on the wrong side of the debate over the supposed constitutionality of such prayers. Similarly, local resident Bobbie Narramore complained that the prayer would make those with no faith feel left out. “I am against an invocation,” Narramore declared, as if reading from a page of the ACLU’s talking points concerning the First Amendment. “I am for the separation of the church and state.” He added that “we have Muslims living here. We have Jews living here. By having prayer, we’re telling them, ‘Forget you because you don’t have a recognized church.’”

One council member, Mayor Pro-Tem Waymon Hamilton (pictured at right), who voted against the measure, expressed his fear over potential lawsuits filed by area residents recruited by the FFRF/ACLU axis. “If we do get into litigation over this, it will be the taxpayers that would in all likelihood pay for it,” Hamilton warned. “Win, lose, or draw, the only one that wins is the lawyers.” Hamilton insisted that he had nothing against prayer in general, saying that he often whispers one privately before council meetings. “I am not opposed to prayer,” he said. “The Lord is the one who knows who prays.” But, he added, “putting the taxpayers at risk of litigation is not prudent.”

According to the Weatherford Democrat, council member Jeff Robinson, who made the motion for the prayer-and-pledge addition, pointed out that the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as the U.S. Congress, open their sessions with prayer, a solid precedent that Weatherford should follow, he lobbied. “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,” Robinson told his fellow council members. “Praying on your own is great, but when you pray as a group I think great things can happen.”

11 comments

  • Comment Link Dan Whitehead Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:26 posted by Dan Whitehead

    "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse;" Romans 1:20

    There really is no such thing as an atheist. By calling themselves atheists they are making a theological statement. All human beings are very well aware that there is a Creator God. Those calling themselves atheists are stupid, self deluded people who think they will escape accountability to and judgment by the holy, just and righteous Creator God. They will not.

    It is good that the enemies of God fear of the prayers of the believers; it is proof that they are indeed without excuse. It is ONLY the prayers of the believers that have kept this nation from destruction thus far.

  • Comment Link Tawni Maughan Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:11 posted by Tawni Maughan

    I am the fly in their ointment.

    Rest assured, had the television cameras not been there the vote of the Flip-Flopping City Council of Weatherford, TX would have voted differently. During the work session just a week prior to this meeting, they were adamant about continuing to NOT observe the citizen's rights to assemble as they choose and pledge their allegiance to the flag and to pray. The two strongest supporters of NOT allowing Prayer are the two who claim to pray to themselves, and claim to be Christian, yet I can find no church going person to tell me that these two are involved in any church in our very Christian city.

    So, are they the Atheistic believed that you speak of? Because I have not seen nor heard from ANY Atheist in our city on this issue and I am very involved.

    Councilman Waymon Hamilton held up pieces of paper to his forehead as if to demonstrate some weird protest of the prayer during this meeting. I have no idea what he was doing and he probably had no idea what the words were on those pieces of paper. He just kept stating his fear of litigation. Perhaps he should have investigated whey EVERY OTHER MUNICIPALITY in Parker County opens their City Council meetings with the Pledge and Pray, JUST LIKE FORT WORTH and DALLAS. He is a funny guy but funny is not what is needed on our City Council. Let him keep his antics and disrespect for our rights in the donut shop.

    As for Councilman Craig Swancy, his flip flopping on issues always comes when media arrives. He was adamant about keeping the prayer out of the meetings, as he has for many years as our Councilman. He was also strongly opposed to having Citizens Comments in an open mic forum, as again EVERY OTHER CITY IN PARKER COUNTY AND FORT WORTH AND DALLAS DO. He and Mr Hamilton and Councilman Robinson were all FOR doing away with the Citizen's First Amendment Right of Free Speech in a Public Forum. UNTIL......media arrived last night. The Flippy Floppy Councilmen were all over the place. They changed their positions and I had to ask the Mayor to have Councilman Swancy speak into the microphone. I need his recording statements. They do not know how to hold a meeting according to Robert's Rules of Order nor do they hold up the Texas Open Meetings Act.

    The more I push the worse the scrambling seems to get....but I am pushing and there are changes occurring.....I will not quit and I appreciate all the help of my constituents!

    Thank you
    Tawni Maughan!

  • Comment Link Dan Whitehead Monday, 25 June 2012 14:46 posted by Dan Whitehead

    Again to Noe Quick

    You master, Satan, can also quote scripture out of context, so I wouldn't get too cocky if I were I you. Playing with God's Word is a very dangerous game.

    You and your ignorant friends need to actually read the Constitution as well as some real history of these United States. None of you know what you're writing about.

    I leave y'all with this:

    "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God'. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1

    Fool may also be translated "insane".

    The day is coming when we're going to see just who's right and just who's wrong.

    I will pray for you poor blind fools.

  • Comment Link Dan Whitehead Monday, 25 June 2012 14:23 posted by Dan Whitehead

    To Noe Quick

    Laugh and mock while you can. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will deal with you and I would not want to be in your shoes.

  • Comment Link Noe Quick Sunday, 24 June 2012 03:15 posted by Noe Quick

    *sighs and face palms* they didn't "defy atheists" so much as defy that pesky US constitution and its whole wacky separation of church and state concept.

    To the previous commentors:

    Dan Whitehead: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18) - See, we Atheists can quote your silly book too. Leviticus is like the greatest hits of bigotry, homophobia, sexism, and racism. See I've actually read your silly book cover to cover, and laughed at the parts that didn't make me vomit.

    Steve Howerton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli So...the US is a Christian country? Wish someone had told the founding fathers that, they seemed to have forgotten. Glad you're here to set the record straight since we need someone with absolutely no historical knowledge to speak up!

    Mark: Right on!

    cried: the problem is people are confounded by public prayer. Also it does hurt people. Reinforcing this stupid belief that you have to share an imaginary friend to have morals and then proclaim it in public is what makes people trust us atheists less than rapists. Funny how few rapists are atheists...percentage wise a whole lot are Christian. Just sayin'

    pi: I think I love you

    John: agenda-driven groups? Your church has a head, and lots of big buildings, and always needs money...does the phrase "pot calling the kettle black" mean anything to you? Our agenda: enforcing the constitution and keeping this country from becoming a theocracy. Your agenda: gettin' retarded in here!

  • Comment Link Dan Whitehead Thursday, 21 June 2012 10:43 posted by Dan Whitehead

    "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God." Romans 14:11


    "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11

  • Comment Link Steve Howerton Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:43 posted by Steve Howerton

    This country was founded on Christian beliefs and traditions. People that don't like this have NO right to stop the MAJORITY from continuing what our founders put in place 237 years ago.

    Atheists have every right not to believe in nothing at all and no one can or would force them to do otherwise, so what gives them the right to impose their non belief on me? The ACLU is a communist group and being atheist is part of the communist doctrine.

    If we, as Christians and Americans, we must start standing up for OUR rights. We must demand that some of these groups be deemed to be terrorist groups and have funding government removed and any tax free exemptions. This should also apply to environmental as it does to most in Canada.

    Start at home by forcing this kind of thing out there, then to our county, states and finally the entire nation. Maybe one little town in Texas is where it begins.

  • Comment Link Mark Thursday, 21 June 2012 08:07 posted by Mark

    Religion has nothing to do with patriotism. The foxholes are full of atheists.

  • Comment Link cried Wednesday, 20 June 2012 22:08 posted by cried

    Paryer is welcome were ever it is said.If Muslims don't pray before meetings. Whats's the problem? They don't have to pray, the same as for non-believers.
    I don't swear and don't say that you can't swear. I don't drink,and I don't say you can't drink. There are many things that the general public does that I may not like. I do the same as you do, SUCK IT UP.

  • Comment Link pi Wednesday, 20 June 2012 21:10 posted by pi

    The headline should read: "Texas Town Defies the United States Constitution, favors paying lots of money to lawyers".
    Really people, you can pray at home, you can pray at church, you can pray at your friend's homes, you can pray at your friends churches, you can pray in your car, you can pray in the park. Can you just give the rest of us a break and skip having prayers when those around you might not share the same belief? Thank you.

  • Comment Link John Wednesday, 20 June 2012 12:27 posted by John

    It is refreshing to see the people of this country finally taking a stand against these agenda driven groups. I hope more towns will do the same. God bless America.

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