Michigan county caves to anti-religion group, cancels prayer before legislative meetings

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A Michigan county has bowed to the demands of an anti-religious group by ending the holding of prayers at the beginning of legislative meetings last month despite Supreme Court rulings in favor of the practice, another big win for the secular left which is hellbent on canceling God in America.

In January, an overwhelming majority of the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners voted to eliminate prayer from the meetings at the behest of the nonprofit organization the Freedom From Religion Foundation which promotes the separation of church and state and advocates for atheists, agnostics, and non-theists; the vote was 5-2.

The board’s decision came as a response to a September letter from the FFRF that urged the board to do away with what it called “unconstitutional invocation practices,” citing the complaints of “multiple concerned Leelanau County residents” who tattled to the organization.

According to the letter: “Prayer at government meetings is unnecessary, inappropriate, and divisive. The best solution is to discontinue invocations altogether. Board members 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.”

“And can I say ‘Amen’ to that?” rejoiced FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in a news release announcing the group’s victory last week.

“In response, the First Liberty Institute, a law firm dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty, wrote its own letter to the board dated Tuesday, over concerns that they ended the practice based on an “inexcusably incomplete information and legal analysis,” from FFRF,” Fox News reported.

According to Fox News: “While both letters cited the 2014 Supreme Court case Town of Greece v. Galloway – in which the Court ruled that legislative bodies, like city councils, could begin meetings with prayer even if it favors a specific religion – the FFRF letter failed to disclose that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – in which Leelanau County sits – concluded that legislative invocations are permitted under the U.S. Constitution, whether led by chaplains, local volunteers, or elected officials.”

Fox News quoted First Liberty’s special counsel for litigation and communications Jeremy Dys who ripped the county’s surrender to the FFRF.

“This is controlling precedent for Leelanau County. Thus, it is inexplicable and outrageous that any attorney purporting to analyze the law on this topic would intentionally omit or accidentally ignore reference to County of Jackson,” First Liberty’s special counsel for litigation and communications Jeremy Dys wrote in a letter, citing the 2017 case Bormuth v. County of Jackson.

“It’s like leaving out in a recipe for sweet tea, it’s like leaving out that you’re supposed to put sugar in it,” he told Fox News in a phone interview. “It’s that atrocious.”

The FFRF which has “more than 35,000 members across the country, including more than 800 members in Michigan” boasts on its website that it has won decisions in federal court “overturning a law declaring Good Friday a state holiday,” that it was successful in “suing the Trump Administration over its executive order against church politicking” and that it successfully sued “the IRS to reinstitute investigations of church politicking” among its legal accomplishments.


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