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Texas City Stands up to Atheists
New American ^ | Tuesday, 30 July 2013 14:32 | Dave Bohon

Posted on 07/30/2013 4:03:03 PM PDT by robowombat

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 14:32 Texas City Stands up to Atheists Over Prayers at Government Meetings Written by Dave Bohon

Texas City Stands up to Atheists Over Prayers at Government Meetings The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) appears to be losing its intimidating touch as it goes about its business of trying to stop people from praying and expressing their faith in public. The atheist group's latest attack has come against the city council of League City, Texas, which has included prayer by local clergy in its regular government meetings since the early 1960s.

In a July 15 letter to Mayor Tim Paulissen and the League City Council, the FFRF went through its customary paces in attempting to browbeat the city fathers into submission. Appealing to the First Amendment's supposed “separation of state and church,” the godless group's staff attorney, Elizabeth Cavell, called the city's tradition of allowing both local residents and government officials to open the meetings in prayer of “dubious legality,” insisting that such prayers are “unnecessary, inappropriate, and divisive.”

Cavell advised that while government officials “are free to pray privately or to worship on their own time in their own way,” they “do not need to worship on taxpayers' time.” Cavell complained that inviting council members and locals to offer invocations at the government meetings “is coercive and beyond the authority of any government.”

While citing a selection of court cases to buttress the FFRF's case against public prayer, Cavell conceded that there is no clear precedent for her group to demand that the city end its tradition, since courts have issued conflicting opinions that make the legal landscape on the issue “unstable.” The only warning she could muster was that prayer at government meetings “continues to be litigated, divisive, and problematic for local governments across the nation precisely because of this instability.”

She dubiously suggested that the “best course” for the city would be “to halt the prayers. If you wish to pray prior to the meeting, do so on your own time in your own way — do not make it part of the secular business of your local government.”

As it happened, Mayor Paulissen and the city council appeared to be disinclined to follow the FFRF's self-serving advice. Paulissen told the Houston Chronicle that he and the other city fathers had no plans to drop the 52-year tradition of opening council meetings with an invocation.

“The city has been doing this since 1962, and nobody has ever complained, to my knowledge,” Paulissen said. He added that “it's not just my stance. I have the full support of those on the city council, too.”

The Chronicle noted that the city council “has a rotating list of pastors and laymen that pray each meeting. Paulissen doesn't see this as a waste of taxpayers' money, as the FFRF alleges.” Said Paulissen: “It's not a waste of taxpayers' money. Everybody supports the prayer. It's non-denominational in content.” He added that “this is what our forefathers did, too,” recalling that the first Continental Congress prayed before it began its historically important business.

Those who have followed the FFRF's ongoing attacks against communities and school districts might remember its unfruitful assault in 2012 on a group of high school cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas, who displayed inspirational Bible verses on huge banners during high-school football games. While the atheist group had intimidated the Kountze school district's superintendent, Kevin Weldon, into prohibiting the cheerleaders from displaying the banners, the students got some legal help of their own from the Dallas-based Liberty Institute, which secured an injunction allowing the cheerleaders to continue displaying the Bible verses while an FFRF-inspired lawsuit against them moved forward.

However, a month before the scheduled June 2013 trial for the lawsuit, a Texas judge ruled that the students were well within their constitutionally guaranteed rights to continue to make and display the Christian banners. In his written opinion, District Judge Steve Thomas found that no state or federal law “prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events.”

Among those who cheered on the cheerleaders was Texas Governor Rick Perry, who said that he was “proud of the cheerleaders at Kountze ISD for standing firm in the knowledge of these endowed rights and their willingness to be an example in defending those rights, which a secular group has needlessly tried to take away.”


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Texas
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/30/2013 4:03:03 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

God Bless Texas.


2 posted on 07/30/2013 4:03:31 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: GeronL

ping


3 posted on 07/30/2013 4:13:10 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: Army Air Corps

bump


4 posted on 07/30/2013 4:14:00 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: robowombat

I saw this story on tv and I have to say I think the atheist should be allowed to put up their diplay on public property. The government has no business discriminating on the basis of religion. I don’t agree with atheists suing to stop religious displays either. I don’t think a minority should be able to force the majority to stop these displays when they harm no one. But by what right do these government officials say that they can not put theirs up when the Christians can put up theirs? That is discrimination in favor of one religion.


5 posted on 07/30/2013 4:16:22 PM PDT by albionin
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To: robowombat

I wonder whether these pests would understand my very secular, non-Christian response to their intrusions?


6 posted on 07/30/2013 4:17:51 PM PDT by G Larry (Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Psalms 109:8)
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To: robowombat

The US Congress still opens with a prayer AND has a Congressional Chaplain that is PAID to do so.

Amen!


7 posted on 07/30/2013 4:19:11 PM PDT by rfreedom4u (I have a copy of the Constitution! And I'm not afraid to use it!)
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To: albionin

Are you saying that atheism is a religion?

Isn’t that an oxymoron?


8 posted on 07/30/2013 4:20:32 PM PDT by Crim (Palin / West '12)
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To: robowombat

I am surprised that they bothered anyone in Texas with this claptrap. They should know better......


9 posted on 07/30/2013 4:24:06 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: Crim

Atheism IS a religion! Its followers are just as fanatical & determined to impose their will as are the muzzies, who lately seem to be their unlikely allies against the majority Christian view.

Never could understand atheists’ white hot hatred of a Deity Who according to them doesn’t even exist!

Replies welcome from the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster aka “skydaddy”.


10 posted on 07/30/2013 4:26:42 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: Crim

No I am not. I’m saying that the government in this case is discriminating on the basis of religion in that they are seeking to protect a certain religion from criticism. I can see where you might have thought I was saying that. This is a first amendment issue. However I don’t think that people putting up nativity scenes is a violation of the first amendment unless tax payer money is being used for he display and then personally it would not bother me if it was. Even though I am an atheist I don’t mind and am not offended by nativity scenes. I do think the government is wrong in this case though.


11 posted on 07/30/2013 4:28:49 PM PDT by albionin
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To: albionin

The Girl Scouts should be able to put one up also. AND the FFA (Future Farmers of America). And the Chamber of Commerce. And Planned Parenthood. And Mother Against Drunk Driving. And Texas Right to Life.


12 posted on 07/30/2013 4:30:37 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (When America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: Balding_Eagle

Just saw your post 11. Stike FFA, MADD, and TRL. All the others criticize the Christian religion and should be allowed.


13 posted on 07/30/2013 4:32:57 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (When America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: Balding_Eagle

Yes and the Klu Klux Klan and the Black Panthers. Either we have a firs amendment right or we don’t. I think these atheists are being jerks to do this at Christmas but whether or not I agree with them is not relevant. That is kind of the whole point of the first amendment. If Christians have a right to be protected from a sight that would offend them on public property then so do the atheists.

Personally I think this is one of he problems with public property. If this were a private space there would be no problem but as soon as it is public then the government has no right discriminating in favor of a religion.


14 posted on 07/30/2013 4:45:49 PM PDT by albionin
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To: albionin

Well if they atheists want to pray to nothingness, they should win a seat on city council. However since these losers travel around the country to get offended, that’s not possible. They simply want to destroy freedom of religion.


15 posted on 07/30/2013 4:54:17 PM PDT by HawkHogan
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To: elcid1970

I wanted an answer from the atheist...if atheism is NOT a religion as he has claimed...then when the govt has no duty to permit the free exercise thereof.

Allowing the atheists to put up a monument is no different than letting Pepsi put one up on the court house grounds.


16 posted on 07/30/2013 5:01:06 PM PDT by Crim (Palin / West '12)
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To: HawkHogan

You know what, I should have read the post. I saw the headline and confused it with a news story I just saw about an atheist group from Wisconsin, which had a member that lived in a town in Texas, who wanted to put up a display that said “There is no God, no Heaven, no Angels and no Devil” or something to that effect, at a park along side a nativity scene. So I apologize. I agree with you that these groups go around looking to be offended. I think it is ridiculous to try and stop praying at city council meetings. Who is it hurting. There are so many real injustices in the world to fight that this issue should not even be on the radar.


17 posted on 07/30/2013 5:06:14 PM PDT by albionin
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To: albionin

That’s my problem. 1) They have misinterpreted the First Amendment. Congress/state legislatures shall not establish an official religion. That doesn’t mean that cheerleaders can’t display prayers on their banners, or a football team can’t pray. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

If Freepers were 4Chan-ers, we’d have the names, numbers, an addresses of all these idiots posted, so we could annoy them just a little bit, to make up for all the problems they cause all of the country


18 posted on 07/30/2013 5:12:27 PM PDT by HawkHogan
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To: albionin

I get sincerely pissed when the Muslims demand that we give them facilities to wash their feet and a place to pray. They refuse to allow our culture but insist upon theirs taking precedence.


19 posted on 07/30/2013 5:15:23 PM PDT by B4Ranch (AGENDA: Grinding America Down ----- http://vimeo.com/63749370)
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To: HawkHogan

Yes I agree with you. I think that they do misinterpret the 1st amendment. I don’t have a problem with prayers at school, especially if the vast majority at the school are religious. I think their efforts to get any mention of god removed from the public square are ridiculous. At my kid’s school, in many ways, it’s like going back in time 50 years. They sing religious songs at Christmas and put up posters saying “Jesus is the reason for the season” and I have no problem with it. This is a public school by the way. I would never try to force the school to stop. I don’t agree with religion but I don’t get offended when I see those who do practicing it in the public square.


20 posted on 07/30/2013 5:24:43 PM PDT by albionin
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To: albionin

The hardcore atheists have really adopted a religion of nothingness.

I proved this point on Twitter the other day during a discussion with my buddy, who is actually an atheist. As soon as we started discussing religion/atheism, literally 25-30 atheists descended upon my timeline, complaining how Christianity ruined the world, and how my faith is so anti-logical.

They are a pathetic bunch. They spend their days, trying to ruin everyone else’s fun.


21 posted on 07/30/2013 5:33:08 PM PDT by HawkHogan
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To: albionin
You seem to keep missing a very important element in the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

The “government” can not be used as a mechanism to force the people to listen to “your” speech or “my” speech, nor can they silence either of us.
That is a function reserved to the people, in a civil society.

Our society is quickly becoming uncivil, due to radical elements of our government acceding to the whims of a vocal radical minority, in defining civil society down to absurd deviant levels.

The correction will be bloody, as it has always been, as it is now in other places, and has always been, throughout human history.

Sigh.

22 posted on 07/30/2013 5:34:37 PM PDT by sarasmom (The obvious takes longer to discover for the obtuse.)
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To: B4Ranch

Yes Islam promotes the initiation of force against non believers. Is is totalitarianism. I think that it crosses the line and should be treated as a danger. I don’t mind saying that I am prejudiced against Muslims for rational reasons. I can coexist with Christians because in a free society I don’t have to deal with them. You get enough Muslims in a society and freedom starts to go the way of the Dodo bird. Pretty soon you have no choice but to deal with them as they try to impose Sharia.


23 posted on 07/30/2013 5:35:56 PM PDT by albionin
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To: sarasmom

Yes I didn’t read the article just the headline. I mistakenly thought it was about another story in Texas where some atheists wanted to put up a display and were forbidden by the government because it would be offensive to Christians. I think these radical groups should get a life.


24 posted on 07/30/2013 5:40:41 PM PDT by albionin
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To: albionin
I think the atheist should be allowed to put up their diplay on public property

They already did, in Bradford County, Florida. The monument is actually a bench, which I think it is hilarious. I can't wait to go to Florida and place my rear end on the atheists monument!

25 posted on 07/30/2013 6:08:02 PM PDT by Former Fetus (Saved by grace through faith)
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To: robowombat
Cavell advised that while government officials “are free to pray privately or to worship on their own time in their own way,”

Really? Really? You'll let them do that? Oh, thank you!!!

Well, ya know what? Stuff it, Cavell, because government officials and others don't get their rights from you. You can't give them, and you can't take them away.

26 posted on 07/30/2013 6:27:42 PM PDT by Nea Wood (When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.)
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To: albionin

And which religion are our laws derived from, and our countries principals based on? Certainly not the KKK or the atheists.

That was somewhat rhetorical, but I am really curious what the atheist plaque had on it? The founding principals of atheism? The ‘golden rule’ of atheism?

I’ve read a number of articles about this, none of which had any mention of what they said.


27 posted on 07/30/2013 7:23:00 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (When America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: dfwgator
God Bless Texas.

Yes, and may He keep us from the libs' attempts to take Him out of Texas.

28 posted on 07/30/2013 7:26:33 PM PDT by Jane Long (While Marxists continue the fundamental transformation of the USA, progressive RINOs stay silent.)
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To: Crim

“Allowing the atheists to put up a monument is no different than letting Pepsi put one up on the court house grounds.”

Your logic is unassailable. But it’s the wild fervor, anger, & determined stance of the atheist that make his views seem like those of an established religion. In other words, often a disease is diagnosed solely by its symptoms in the absence of solid bacteriological evidence.


29 posted on 07/30/2013 8:49:55 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: Army Air Corps

Isn’t today the anniversary of the Dwight D. Eisenhower “In God We Trust” order ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_we_trust

It was declared the official motto during the Cold War to counter soviet state atheism .......

Stay safe !


30 posted on 07/30/2013 8:56:57 PM PDT by Squantos ( Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet ...)
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To: robowombat

I remember when Christine O’Donnell (sic?) was debating the idiot Democrat during the Delaware Senate Race.

They were at a Law School, and when the Democrat started going on about the Separation of Church and State, Christine said it wasn’t in the Constitution, which of course it isn’t.

The Students in the Audience laughed at and booed her. These are future Lawyers, and unfortunately future Liberal Politicians, and they actually believe the made up crap.


31 posted on 07/30/2013 9:15:22 PM PDT by Kickass Conservative (They can follow the Communist, I'll follow the Constitution...)
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To: Kickass Conservative
They were at a Law School, and when the Democrat started going on about the Separation of Church and State, Christine said it wasn’t in the Constitution, which of course it isn’t.

The Students in the Audience laughed at and booed her. These are future Lawyers, and unfortunately future Liberal Politicians, and they actually believe the made up crap.

Yes indeed. I have been called a ‘racist MFer’ for pointing out that while the Constitution does make the Prez the Commander in Chief of the armed forces it specifically says that Congress has both the power of the purse and is responsible for approving the regulations and laws that shall govern the armed forces, i.e. DADT. So that BHO could not unilaterally void DADT. The respondent believed I was dissing ‘his’ president by stating this.

32 posted on 07/31/2013 9:53:44 AM PDT by robowombat
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