Borough Council Members in Greenville, Pennsylvania Are Keeping Christian Prayers at Their Meetings

The Borough Council of Greenville, Pennsylvania has been reciting prayers at their meetings for decades. So when a local resident finally told the Freedom From Religion Foundation about it, you know exactly how council members reacted when they got the complaint letter:

It’s tradition!

Why would anyone complain about this?!

We have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!

Here’s what they said in their own words, anyway:

“I am perfectly OK with prayer at meetings,” Councilman Anthony D’Alfonso said. “I think it’s a long-standing tradition that should be honored.”

The prayers, led by a rotating slate of clergy who are almost entirely Christian, “provide guidance and blessings to council and the community,” D’Alfonso said.

“I don’t see it at an issue that should be addressed,” he said.

The complaint “came as quite a surprise,” D’Alfonso said.

Councilman Ted Jones called the complaint “pretty crazy.”

“I think it’s pretty stupid,” Jones said. “I don’t think we should do anything.”

“Pretty stupid” is reciting a Christian prayer at every meeting when you know damn well that you represent people who are Christian, Jewish, non-religious, and everything else in between.

They could always allow non-Christians to deliver some of the invocations or make sure the prayers are non-Sectarian. But none of their comments allude to doing anything of the sort. They’re sticking with what they’ve always done, no matter what anyone else thinks.

I’m sure the Greenville taxpayers will appreciate the waste of their money when the lawsuit comes around.

If you live in the area, feel free to let your representatives know how you feel (politely, of course).

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Jonas

    “I’m perfectly OK with Slavery” … “It’s a long held Tradition, since the Founding of this Country” … “I think abolishing Slavery is stupid” .. “I don’t think we should do anything.” ….. — Slave Owner — Circa 1860

  • Chris B

    “‘“Pretty stupid’ is reciting a Christian prayer at every meeting when you know damn well that you represent people who are Christian, Jewish, non-religious, and everything else in between.”

    Well…that’s how it should be at least. I think some representatives have no intention of representing their non-Christian constituents. It’s almost like they think non-Christians should have their own “separate but equal” facilities.

    Secondly, arguments based on tradition are complete non-starters for me. The fact that things have been done a certain way is not sufficient justification for continuing to do them that way. If we continued things because they were traditional, doctors wouldn’t wash their hands before surgery, we’d still have slavery, and a whole host of other terrible habits. Fighting change via tradition is just saying “I’m lazy and I don’t want to think critically about my habits and how they affect you.”

  • Erp

    It does seem the one/two of US official worship. A prayer to (usually) the Christian God followed by an official act of worship of the US Flag (how does one pledge allegiance to an inanimate object?). Vice versa quite a few US churches have the US flag in or near the main area of worship. It is a mingling that I think is dangerous on both sides (one of the good sides of religion is when it transcends national/ethnic boundaries).

  • SeekerLancer

    Yes, when you don’t a real argument just call your opposition, “stupid.”

    Local politicians are the worst.

  • Dee

    I am so tired of all this ridiculousness. I’m sure you’ve heard this before but I am going to say it. Being an atheist is a religion as well and I don’t want your non religious views “crammed” down my throat!

    Can you please tell me what you are so afraid of when people pray?

    How is that offending you?

    I could say your lack of prayer and stirring up trouble, offends me. Maybe we should take you to court for wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with these bogus law suits. Surely you have bigger problems to deal with in Chicago.

    Stop pushing your agendas! Start focusing on real issues!

    Our whole nation is in serious trouble and I can’t see where prayer is going to hurt. In fact I know it will help. I have had numerous prayers answered. You may not believe there is a God. But some of us do and for those of us who do, we are going to pray. We know God will help us and our nation.

    My prayer is that God helps you see the truth and experience His love before it’s to late. God loved you so much that He looked out into eternity and made a way for you to communicate with Him (prayer)and to have a personal relationship with Him through His son Jesus.

    Jesus took your sins on himself and carried them to the cross. He was perfect, you and I are not and it should have been all of us on the cross. He takes your sins and forgives you for everything wrong you’ve ever done and gives you a new life.

    If you accept what He did and make Him your Lord and Savior then you get to start over , brand new! It’s by faith you have to believe this. Then you simple say Jesus I believe what you did was for me, I acknowledge I’m a sinner and I need You.
    I confess you as Lord of my life. I trust You to lead me.

    Now the way we communicate with Father God is through prayer. If we ask in His name, according to His will, He will hear us and answers us. The key to answered prayers is it has to be according to His will.

    So maybe you’ve chosen to be an atheist because God didn’t answer your prayers. he can’t answer you if He doesn’t know you and it isn’t according to His will.

    Hope this helps. Prayer isn’t the issue it’s a relationship issue and who you’ve chosen to serve.


  • gman

    Sick and tired of you minorities trying to change America. If you don’t like our way of life,our traditions,our Constitution,our Bill of Rights,our Laws,our People,why don’t you try one of those third world countries trying to survive.