Group Concerned Prayer Policy Not Respectful to Range Of Religions

April 6, 2009

Author: Le Roy Standish

Source: The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Those fighting to keep God out of public meetings have been attending the meetings themselves.

Armed with note pads, laptops and digital audio recorders, members of the Western Colorado Atheists and Free Thinkers have been filling the pews at Mesa County government meetings. They listen intently to the invocations for names of deities, like Jesus, they document when the gavel falls to start the meeting and note which of the three commissioners is giving the invocation that day.

They also are keeping an eye on Grand Junction City Council meetings via the Internet.

The atheist group says the city and the county continue to violate the law by invoking the name of Jesus and by giving Christian invocations. No one is saying “lawsuit” yet, but there has been a lot of saber-rattling.

The city changed its policy late last year in reaction to the group’s complaints. The new policy encourages that invocations be given by followers of many faiths, not just Christianity, and discourages invocators from proselytizing.