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City Council prayer challenged

By Wesley Brown

The Daily Reflector

13 Comments | Leave a Comment

Mayor Allen Thomas said he is a man of faith and tradition. In Greenville, that means starting each City Council meeting with a brief prayer led by one of the board’s elected officials.

That practice came under attack this week by a national nonprofit, which has filed lawsuits in California, South Carolina and South Dakota involving the “separation of church and state.”

The Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Thomas on Tuesday stating that it received a complaint from an unidentified resident who objects to council invocations ending with the phrases “in Jesus’ name we pray” or “in your name we pray.”

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The establishment clause says

The establishment clause says CONGRESS can not establish religion. What the mayor and city council do is the decision of the city council, and it is not the business of this "Freedom From Religion" organization. It is a local issue and is unrelated to the federal government. If we do not like the city council's actions, we have ways of expressing them by contacting them, commenting at a council meeting, or by voting for different people. Personally, I am thankful for leaders who are humble enough to seek God's wisdom, grace and guidance.

prayer is not complicated

Whether you want to believe it or not, this country was founded from and on religious beliefs! Understanding that may allow you to accept the differences of opinion in expressing ones faith. Prayer is a means to ask a "deity", God, Jesus, Allah, the Great Grandfather, whomever, for protection and wisdom in the conduct of daily affairs. For those whose psyche doesn't allow that concept, great. However, those same people are the ones who would continue to infringe on my right to pray, and other freedoms for which this country was founded, whenever and however, because they don't like it! Well, those persons, are entitled to their opinions and they should be respected. But why is it that they can't respect/accept how others are expressing themselves. All or nothing is that it? After all, it isn't a threat to your personal safety or the safety of the community unless they are fanatical. Well life doesn't work that way. So get off your high horse, show a little tolerance (look up the definition) for those things you don't like, and live life. It is too short to worry about the Wiccan, Muslim, Christian, Native-American, etc, and how they conduct their personal faith. When your day is nigh, you will find something to believe in.


Almost any kind of prayer at government meetings is unconstitutional since it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Saying any prayer establishes, promotes, or markets a religion with the dogma: 1) A supernatural person exists. 2) This person listens to prayers. 3) This person sometimes responds favorably to human requests. and 4) This person wants, desires, or approves of these prayers. Prayers use government officials on government time and on government property. They are used to promote the specific religion of whoever gives the prayer. And this is an improper use of government.

Leave Prayer out of govt please

No citizen who wants to participate in a government meeting designed for ALL citizens should be forced to participate in a religious ritual designed for only SOME of the citizens. Leave your prayers to appropriate places, like your homes, churches etc. Not my government.

*don't know why mercer and

*don't know why mercer and blackburn won't pray in a public place--many folks feel uncomfortable with public prayer. *when you open prayer to one religion, then all will ask for their own time--as is fair. can anyone think of a particular religion that the public might feel uncomfortable with-- i can. *maybe it's time for a moment of quiet personal prayer or moment of silent reflection that we can't connect to a specific religion. *i knew this was coming--and maybe is should.

Prayer is good.

It doesn't have to be of one specific religion. One of the past councils had a different religious prayer at each meeting. Non-denominational, Muslim, Jewish, Methodist, Catholic,Presbyterian, Baptist etc. It is another opportunity to share our diversity. If we are truly trying to represent "all" people this is the way to do it. Amen.

It's about time.

As an atheist who goes to a lot of city council meetings, I for one am happy to see that someone is finally doing something to stop this hurtful and divisive practice. Government-sponsored prayer is unworthy of a great, diverse city like Greenville, and I hope our leaders will rise to the opportunity to put an end to it. Brian Glover

Would these comments be about you? If it is, then it says a lot



Really? Having someone pray hurts you? Asking for wisdom, guidance, and the ability to keep from walloping one another during the meeting is hurtful? Wow. I feel bad for you and will pray for you. Maybe someone should give you a ribbon or metal or a lollipop for participating in this discussion. That would probably make you feel all better.

Grow up!

How is this government sponsored prayer? Council members choose how to respond during the prayer when they are called upon and it last less than one minute. How is someone expressing their faith hurtful to the fact that you don't choose to practice a faith? They also recite the pledge of allegiance... one nation, under GOD... I bet you want that gone too!

Public Prayer.

This is so pathetic...really. Although I certainly think the mayor should pray as he sees fit and that is his constitutional rights, because Calvin and Marian should not be a point of contempt. If anything, it shows that they actually follow what the Bible teaches on this matter. This situation is exactly what this passage is referring to....almost identical. Although I support completely the point of the mayor, to use this issues to point out the public prayer habits of anyone...is nearly blasphemous, and the writer is treading of thin ice. Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[b] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.


Calvin Mercer refuses to pray invocation. The entire time he has been on city council. The video of every council meeting is on the city. Go to any Greenville City Council meeting. . . and look at the video. The facts speak for themselves. Calvin Mercer refuses to pray. Marion Blackburn refuses to pray, often instead uses the time to make a speech. All the other council members and mayor open the greenville meetings with prayer. Say what you want. . . Those are the facts. CLICK on the DECEMBER 10th City Council meeting for an example of Calvin Mercer refusing to offer prayer in invocation. You can also click on the Agenda to every meeting date for the past 6 years and it will tell you who is supposed to give the Invocation. HERE IS THE LINK. Mercer's most recent December 10th 2012. http://greenville.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

Had to be

I am sure Marion Blackburn complained.,, Lets get these people out of here this year

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart