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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 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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