Forgive Them, Father, For They Know Not Where to Pray

The ACLU will file suit against Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle for his proposed prayer meeting in the city commission chambers.

According to the ACLU's Hess, "the people who put this on and the people who show up happen to be Christians. Reverend Kennedy and some of his people are, I believe, strongly behind it."

The ACLU even has a detailed report on past prayer-day ceremonies from member Douglas J. Blass, who observed many of the participants arriving in "Coral Ridge Presbyterian buses" and only Coral Ridge Presbyterian leaders appeared to be in charge.

Describing the 1993 observance, Blass reported that Naugle and Kennedy "started the ritual by first drawing everyone's attention to them." Naugle presented his proclamation, Kennedy prayed, then invited others to pray. "The Reverend Kennedy stayed at the front of the room, as the controlling person in the room, and proceeded to roll his eyes back in his head as each person stood and invoked the name of Jesus in prayer...; the mayor was in the room towards the front, also apparently in a control position," (a position the mayor seldom attains in commission meetings).

Told the ACLU is playing hardball this year and is on the offensive against mighty Coral Ridge Presbyterian, the mayor, apparently savoring this new intelligence, responded, "Oooh, oooh," then insisted prayer-day ceremonies "have not been limited to any church."

Naugle added that many elected officials issue prayer-day proclamations, including the President of the United States and the governor of Florida. In rebuttal the ACLU observes that the President doesn't issue the proclamation and then lead a church service on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Government, argues the ACLU, "must avoid excessive entanglement with religion.

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