The Latest: Phoenix council replaces prayer with silence

FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2015 file photo, Chris Bridges holds a sign for The Satanic Temple during a protest outside of an all-day prayer rally headlined by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in Baton Rouge. The Phoenix council was poised Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, to consider whether a group that uses Satan in its name should be allowed to present the opening prayer during a future council meeting. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on the Phoenix City Council discussion on the future of opening prayers at its meetings (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

The Phoenix City Council has voted 5-4 to replace a longstanding tradition of praying before its meetings with a moment of silence.

 The move prevents a group with “Satan” in its name from offering a scheduled prayer at the Feb. 17 meeting.
 The moment of silence was offered as an alternate motion to one that would have allowed councilors to select who gives the invocation on a rotating basis. City attorney Brad Holm says the original measure would have subjected Phoenix to a lawsuit over constitutional rights.

More than 50 people gave emotional testimony on how they would like to see the council address prayer.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio vowed to bring the issue before voters.

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FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2015 file photo, a Satanic Temple of Seattle member who gave her name as Dice wears horns as its members gather outside a football game in Bremerton, Wash. A football coach had been suspended for leading postgame prayers.  (Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP, File)

5:35 p.m.

A Phoenix councilwoman has introduced an amendment to replace the opening prayer at meetings with a moment of silence.

About two dozen people have weighed in on the amendment offered by Thelda Williams at Wednesday’s council meeting. Those include religious leaders, state legislators and veterans.

None specifically has backed a group that uses Satan in its name and that is scheduled to give the invocation at the Feb. 17 council meeting. But some have told councilors that they have no right to limit prayer by any group.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio says silencing prayer is the group’s intent.

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4:36 p.m.

The public wasted no time letting the Phoenix City Council know how it feels about prayer at meetings.

One man told the councilors at a meeting Wednesday that they should pray on their own time. Another man said the city shouldn’t disown God.

A third person says a group that uses Satan in its name cannot pass itself off as religious.

The group is scheduled to present the opening prayer during the council’s Feb. 17 meeting.

The council is taking up an emergency measure to allow councilors to select who gives the opening prayer.

The meeting was standing-room only.

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1 p.m.

The devil won’t be just in the details when the Phoenix City Council takes up a political and religious hot potato.

The council is poised Wednesday afternoon to consider whether a group that uses Satan in its name should be allowed to present the opening prayer during a future council meeting.

The issue has implications for constitutional protections for speech and religion and could evolve into whether the council even has opening prayers.

The nation’s highest court has upheld public bodies’ prayers during meetings.

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2 comments

  1. SweetJava

    Proof of yet another reason we’re living in the end times… The apostasy era, the falling away from truth.
    Funny (sarcastically said), how the Constitution is used for religious issues but archaic for anything else.

    Prayer is a powerful blessing, when directed to the God of Heaven. So the moment of silence is preferable… Ohh! how we’ve fallen…
    John 15:7,8 Jesus speaking,
    “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
    Once again the father of lies has twisted God’s word to his advantage and his servitude. A good reason why we must study the Word of God to distinguish the truth from the seas of lies. ‘The truth will set us free’, we need to diligently seek it.

    Prayer and worship will become more prominent as we get closer to Jesus’ advent. Hang in there saints of the Most High, as we go through the refining fire; stay faithful to the true God of Heaven. He ALONE deserves our allegiance and in return we have His protection, His grace and eternity to look forward too.

    God in Heaven, help us in this world of chaos and confusion to see Your truth. Forgive them for they do not see their error. Give us Your courage to stand with You, in You. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
    May God help us all to His understanding. Come, Lord Jesus come!

    • Gordon King

      Thanks for your comment SweetJava!

      I agree with you wholeheartedly! We must not cower or back down in our faith and convictions! Should we let atheists and Satan worshipers stop us from praying in public? Absolutely not! Did Daniel back down when a decree was made to worship only King Darius for 30 days or be thrown into a den of lions? NO! This is a situation when the government has gone against the teachings of God, when we do not have to submit to their laws.

      Amen to your prayer! God bless!

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