Christian-led Prayer

Decision to favor Christian prayer will likely cause constitutional problems and lawsuits.

A city council of Arizona is debating on whether it should introduce a change in its laws allowing Christian prayer only prior to the start of government meetings. On Monday, the Coolidge city council in Arizona cast a vote to change its laws to allow only Christian prayers. The member voting favored the change in regulations (4-2).

Robert Hudelson, a councilman, moved for amending the proposal, claiming Christianity is “our heritage, we should not be ashamed of it, nor should we be pushed into a corner because [of] Supreme Court decisions.”

On the other hand, Attorney Denis Fitzgibbons warned that Arizona was opening up to discrimination indictments if it allowed only Christian prayer offerings. Hudelson rebutted, saying that it was the job of attorneys such as Fitzgibbons to help them get out of such problems.

Others, such as Gilbert Lopez, councilman and Catholic Church member, gave his vote against the proposal of “Christian prayer only.” "When we took the oath of office, we said we would uphold the laws of the state of Arizona and the United States."

According to Victoria Lopez, who serves as the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona’s legal director, the act of permitting only Christian prayers would lead to various constitutional issues.

The majority of the Supreme Court declared that the offering of prayers is considered constitutional as long as the state authorities decide to include all faiths.

The offering of prayer at government or public meetings remains a subject of contention, since the Supreme Court passed a ruling at the time of the Galloway vs. Greece case (2014) that religious invocations don’t go against the constitution of America. This is true even if they sometimes focus on Christianity and not other faiths. At the particular time, a television news channel claimed that this ruling was only passed for Greece in particular and did not offer any guidance to the other states and communities who were also struggling with related issues.

Greece, a town in New York, got a win with the Supreme Court decision in the Galloway vs. Greece case. This Supreme Court ruling was in-sync with the decision taken in 1983, which related to a similar case in the legislature of Nebraska.

The proposal is now in a 30-day review period. 


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