Prayer may be altered at GJ City Hall

If Grand Junction city council members want to say a prayer before their meetings, they may have to do it silently.

It is a tradition to start city council meetings with a prayer led by a rotation of pastors from local Christian churches. That tradition was challenged recently by the organization Western Colorado Atheists (WCA), which argued the practice violated the First Amendment by promoting Christian doctrine during government business.

According to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, WCA suggested a couple of recourses for the council to consider:

• Inviting multi-denominational clergy for invocations who would give only non-sectarian prayers containing no reference to specific deities.

• Change the invocation to a moment of silence or eliminate the invocation entirely.

After researching the complaint, the Grand Junction city manager advised the council last week that the city council would probably have to alter its invocations.

In 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city over its placement of a Ten Commandments monument in front of City Hall. In response to that lawsuit, the city erected other monuments nearby, including the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact. Conflict resolved.

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