An Arizona city council has unanimously voted to back away from a controversial proposal that would have instituted Christian-only prayer before government meetings.
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The Coolidge City Council — which had previously voted 4-2 to allow Christian-only invocations — was widely criticized over claims that the policy violated last year's Greece vs. Galloway Supreme Court decision, which affirmed prayer at public meetings so long as every faith can participate.
The city of Coolidge faced legal threats in recent days from the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and decided to hold a special meeting to address the issue on Monday evening.
It was there that officials instead voted to allow any and all religious groups into the fold to pray before council meetings begin.
"We want to move Coolidge forward," Mayor Jon Thompson said, according to the Arizona Republic. "Now we have a legally defensible position and everyone will have a seat at the table."
Prayer was once a part of Coolidge City Council meetings from 1996 to 2007, but the practice was reportedly halted due to a lack of interest and involvement from the community, reported the Casa Grande Dispatch.
Pastor Byron Sanders of Fairhaven Baptist Church in Coolidge, Arizona, had waged the initial effort to bring invocations back by allowing every faith to take part, but was initially blindsided by the decision to restrict his proposal to Christians only.
Sanders has since expressed support for the adoption of his initial, more-inclusive plans.
(H/T: Arizona Republic)
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