Atheist Group Members Object To Prayers At Grand Junction City Council Meetings

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Grand Junction, Colo. (AP) At each Monday meeting, Grand Junction city council members take a moment to pray, reflect or stand quietly during an invocation usually given by a local religious leader.

An atheist group wants to end that.

Thirteen members of the Western Colorado Atheists asked the city council in a letter this month to eliminate the invocation. They say the prayers violate the first amendment.

City attorney John Shaver says he and city manager Laurie Kadrich are willing to meet with members to discuss their concerns. A meeting date has not been set.

Council members are mixed on their opinions of whether an invocation should remain.

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  • by Russell Location: Montrose, CO. USA on May 27, 2008 at 12:05 PM
    I could be wrong about this, but I am sure that I am not. The council is not violating the first amendment by praying prior to sessions. The Western Colorado Atheists are trying to suppress the first amendment rights of the Grand Junction City Council by asking them not to pray before the Monday session. The first amendment does not say that you do not have the right to religious freedom. It does, however, say that you DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!! I have to accept that everyday. I am a Christian man. I believe there is a God. I believe that Jesus is his son, and I believe that he came and died for our sins. I have to accept the fact that I am free to practice my religion anywhere I please. I also have to accept the fact that others are free to do the same. If I have to do this then why should the Western Colorado Atheists feel that they do not? Are they above the law? Do they possess some power that commands us to obey them? Are they not citizens of the United States of America, and as such, subject to the laws of our land and bound to obey them or face the consequences? If, the answers to these questions are yes, then they need to step back, sit down, and think long about what they are not so much asking, but demanding. In my opinion, these people are what is wrong with America and why we are fast becoming a hated country among the other nations of the world. I do not want to force my religion, my political views, or my culture upon anyone. However, we all must be aware that while the first amendment gives us the right to free speech, religion, and press. We also must not forget that it gives those rights to everyone else. We must respect that and accept that there are people in the world who are different from us. If the Western Colorado Atheists would do this, they might not be so concerned with what the council does before the session, but be more concerned with what the council does during the session.
  • by Anonymous Location: GJ on May 23, 2008 at 06:06 AM
    As an athiest, I have no problem with a moment of silence - a led invocation by elected officials is tanamount to a promotion of religion and in particular, the City Council's brand of faith. I imagine there would be a fairly big outcry if the invocation would be led by someone whose faith didn't jive with the majorities. Why not have the invocation led by a Wiccan? Or how about a Pagan? Muslim?
  • by Darby Location: GJ on May 22, 2008 at 06:49 PM
    If they dont like it......they should just show up 5 minutes late. If the council is mixed about the invocation, So will I on supporting them in the future.
  • by Grand Junction Location: Grand Junction on May 22, 2008 at 12:18 PM
    Wow. That defeats the purpose of the 1st amendment, right? Freedom means freedom. Freedom for any group to practice any religion they please as long as they are not forcing it upon others.
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