The Freedom From Religion Foundation out of Wisconsin has teamed up with a California-based atheist organization to target public prayer at city council meetings in California, according to news sources.
Last June, FFRF sent a letter to the Chico City Council in Chico, California, instructing the council to “discontinue official, government prayers” at meetings.
Opening government meetings with an invocation is a longstanding practice in America that has been upheld as constitutional. Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the city council, asking them not to be bullied by these two atheist groups.
In the letter, ADF noted,
“There is simply no question that a public deliberative body may open its meetings with an invocation, even one that includes a prayer. Public prayer has been an essential part of our heritage since before this nation’s founding, and our Constitution has always protected the activity. Contrary to some recent claims, such prayer can also include distinctly Christian references without running afoul of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”
Last year Freedom From Religion Foundation sent similar letters to public officials and government bodies who were celebrating Christmas with Nativity scenes and lighting ceremonies around the country.