The city council in Mount Vernon, Ohio just pissed off religious nuts in the region:
As the May 14 meeting drew to a close, four council members spoke against the change. Afterward, on the city hall steps, voices and questions were raised: Who complained? Who made the decision?
Why wasn’t prayer on the agenda anymore?
“I think it’s pathetic,” said local religious advocate Jeff Cline… “We keep kicking God out of everything.”
So what exactly did they do to “kick god” off the agenda?
They moved their pre-meeting prayer from 7:30p… to 7:28p.
And it happened because Ryan Kitko, a student from The Ohio State University, requested it:
“We live in a diverse community of many faiths and non-faiths,” Kitko, an atheist, told the Mount Vernon News. “Having a prayer in any faith creates an atmosphere of exclusion.”
I’m sure the city council members believe their “generic” prayer is inclusive of everyone. What they don’t understand is how matters of god have no business in government meetings. Leave it to the local churches, the homes of local residents, and everywhere else where reality takes a backseat to superstition.
Kitko did the right thing in requesting that they remove the prayers and Council President Bruce Hawkins (at least in theory) honored the request by pushing up the prayer to when it’s not an official part of the agenda.
“The last thing we need in this community is division,” said Hawkins, who sought the advice of city Law Director Bill Smith before he made his decision. “The bottom line is, we want to make sure it’s legal.”
Even though the invocation is still being delivered, people aren’t happy with the time change:
“If one or two people want to change something that’s been done forever, I kind of a have a little problem with that,” [council member John] Fair said. “I don’t think one person has the authority to change what the majority of people feel.”
The public outcry and debate in Mount Vernon began less than 24 hours after the meeting ended. “ Prayer Shut Down at City Council Meetings?” someone posted on the anonymous online forum KnoxPages.com. “ONE person complained, and *poof* — prayer is no more.” The post garnered more than 70 responses.
“I frankly see this Ryan guy and [John] Freshwater as two sides of the same coin,” one user wrote. “ Intolerant and divisive.”
Already, there’s a plan to reinstate the invocation. If the city council is smart, they’ll reject it. I’m not holding out much hope.
(via Religion Clause)