Phoenix City Council Votes To Bring Back Public Prayer To Meetings

Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 9:02pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 9:41pm
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The Phoenix City Council votes to reverse an earlier vote banning spoken prayers at meetings.

During Wednesday's lengthy, sometimes heated discussion, the Phoenix City Council voted to reverse its decision to replace a public invocation with a moment of silent prayer and reflection.

By a 7-2 vote, members agreed with a motion introduced by Councilman Jim Waring. It calls for chaplains from the Phoenix Police and Fire departments to provide public invocations.

Getting there wasn’t easy — hours of public comments, questions and arguing among members led Councilwoman Thelda Williams to say it was time for it to end.

"I know that anytime you mix politics and religion it's a battle," she said. "I mean, you can look around the world and see that. And, I just want it to end. Phoenix is better than that. This council is above this crap, quite frankly.”

It’s still not a done deal. City staff must determine which chaplains are willing to lead prayers and how to handle a potential legal challenge. The council is expected to vote on a new ordinance to allow spoken prayers led by chaplains later this month.

The issue of public prayer came to the forefront after followers of the Satanic Temple were granted permission to give the invocation before a council meeting. They didn’t get the chance because the council voted to change to a moment of silent prayer.

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