City Council's Reaction to Wisconsin Group Regarding Meeting Prayer
At Monday’s Rapid City Council meeting, in a 6-3 vote the council approved a policy in response to a Wisconsin-based nonprofit group who is asking the Council to stop opening the meeting with a prayer.
The policy would not specify what can or cannot be said but is intended to protect the city from a lawsuit. The policy will be introduced by the city attorney at the Council meeting on the18th.
The public spoke on both sides but the majority of public comment supported opening the meeting with prayer as has been the tradition since at least the 1960’s.
The group from Wisconsin, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, advocates for the separation of church and state. The group says the Rapid City Council's practice first came to their attention when they received a complaint from a local Rapid City resident.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation did not explicitly threaten to sue in a letter to the city but will push to take the issue to court if necessary.
The Foundation's lawyer says a compromise would be for the council to hold a moment of silence before the meeting instead of a formal prayer.