Arizona City Council Approves Proposal to Allow Only Christian Prayers at Meetings

Prayer VI pdCOOLIDGE, Ariz. — City Council members in Arizona have voted to move forward with a proposal to allow only Christian prayers at city hall meetings.

The Coolidge City Council voted 4-2 on Monday with one member absent to have attorney Dennis Fitzgibbons provide draft language and counsel as to how the concept might be carried out.

Councilman Rob Hudelson, a Baptist minister, had proposed the idea as the council was considering a resolution to allow religious groups in the area to present a prayer, message or moment of silence during meetings. According to reports, Coolidge currently has been absent any invocations since 2007, when interest from local clergy faded out.

Hudelson pointed to the nation’s Christian history in making the motion.

“I think it’s very important,” he stated. “We just proclaimed Constitution Week. You know what was said at the end of the [Revolutionary] War? A treaty in Paris that said, ‘In the name of the most Holy and undivided Trinity.’ You don’t get that from the Quran. You get it from the Bible. You get it from Christianity.”

“That’s our heritage,” Hudelson continued. “We should not be ashamed of it, nor should we be pushed into a corner because of Supreme Court decisions. The first prayer in Congress ended by saying, ‘Thy Son, our Savior, based on the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; Amen.”

But some objected to the idea, including Mayor Jon Thompson, who is a professing Christian.

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“I’m not willing to get the city of Coolidge sued over an invocation,” he said. “We’re stepping into territory that might lead us into litigation. I don’t want to bring us any more problems.”

Thompson said that he would allow those of other faiths to present their prayers, and if he objects to the content of their invocations, he “wouldn’t pay attention.”

Councilman Gilbert Lopez likewise rejected the idea, citing a possible violation of the oath of office.

But when the vote was taken, council members Steve Hudson, Gary Lewis and Tatiana Murrieta all sided with Hudelson. But Lewis says that he won’t vote for the resolution when it is re-introduced for a vote.

“I’ve had conversations with many people in the public, including local pastors,” he told the Arizona Republic. “And while many agree that it was a good idea, it is not something that would be [legally] successful, and I agree with that. I don’t agree with anything that would bring that much litigation towards the city.”

Fitzgibbons is currently amending the resolution as desired but has stated that he likewise fears a lawsuit.

“That’s why we pay him,” Hudson stated, “To avoid us getting into these problems.”

A vote is expected on Sept. 28.


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  • Michael Eade

    Correct me if i am wrong, but is that not illegal?

    First Amendment – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    • Lexical Cannibal

      Oh yeah, super illegal. It’s pretty established legal precedent that if a governing body wants invocations, they have to allow all interested parties or none at all. There’s not really much their lawyer can do to get them those Christian-only invocations without fear of legal action.

    • Asemodeus

      You’re looking at this from the viewpoint of a sane person. To the crazy right they define religious freedom as their freedom to impose their religion on everyone else through the use of state power. They think like this because they think the first amendment only applies to them by claiming that the only religion that it protects is their very specific and very crazy brand of Christianity.

      Therefore, since everyone else isn’t protected by the first amendment, they are free to impose their will on others. Naturally, this makes them domestic terrorists at best, and should be treated as such. Which will eventually happen since the youth in this country are significantly more secular than previous generations. It will eventually reach a point where a politicians religious views will either be irrelevant or counter productive to gaining office.

    • bowie1

      But this is not congress… this is a city council making that law.

      • Michael Eade

        So the first amendment only applies to congress does it? That would kinda make the first amendment and by extension the whole US constitution pointless.

        • bowie1

          I’m not a lawyer but it might make an interesting legal arguments since congress wouldn’t be establishing any religion. If the federal level of government (congress) did the same thing then they might not be able to “establish religion.”

          • Michael Eade

            Personally i think it is stupid, politicians are supposed to remain unbiased they are not supposed to support one group over another.

  • Michael C

    This article doesn’t explain why the Coolidge City Council wishes to exclude all non-Christian religious groups from participation. What about this idea do people find appealing and why?

  • The Skeptical Chymist

    Wow, a school district so rich that it can afford to throw money away! That’s amazing. This district will lose, and lose badly, when this policy is challenged in court. Any vaguely competent attorney would tell them so. They don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

  • OhSoGood

    Sounds like a religious test to me. It won’t last.

  • Dianne

    In GOD(JESUS CHRIST) we TRUST!!

    • Longbowgun

      “E Pluribus Unum”
      “from many, one” including agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Hindus…

      • Dianne

        JESUS CHRIST IS LORD OVER ALL!!!!!

        • Longbowgun

          Not me.

          • Dianne

            And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
            Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name;
            That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the earth;
            And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11

          • Longbowgun

            I will never bow as long as I have freewill.

          • Dianne

            You’ll bow now in repentance to GOD through Christ Jesus or you’ll bow in HELL, forever in ETERNAL REGRET.
            EITHER WAY YOU WILL BOW!!!!

          • Longbowgun

            Your scare tactics won’t work with me. I won’t bow in heaven nor hell. If I find myself – after I die – before your god I will give him a few billions years to beg my forgiveness.
            What a loving god you have there. Could you be happy in heaven if a family member where in hell?

          • Dianne

            I’m trying to tell you the TRUTH. John 3:16-21 FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.
            FOR GOD SENT NOT HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN: BUT THAT THE WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED.
            HE THAT BELIEVETH ON HIM IS NOT CONDEMNED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, BECAUSE HE HATH NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD.
            AND THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION , THAT LIGHT HAS COME INTO THE WORLD, AND MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, BECAUSE THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL.

            FOR EVERYONE THAT DOETH EVIL HATETH THE LIGHT, NEITHER COMETH TO THE LIGHT, LEST HIS DEEDS SHOULD BE REPROVED.
            BUT HE THAT DOETH TRUTH COMETH TO THE LIGHT, THAT HIS DEEDS MAY BE MADE MANIFEST, THAT THEY ARE WROUGHT IN GOD.

            I WOULD NOT BE HAPPY IF A FAMILY MEMBER WHERE IN HELL AND THAT’S WHY I TELL EVERYONE TO REPENT AND BE SAVED!!! The GOOD NEWS is that you can be saved by receiving JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR.
            Your REJECTION of this loving offer IS YOUR free will to except ETERNAL DAMNATION IN HELL. SO THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

          • Longbowgun

            CAPS LOCK DOES NOT MAKE YOUR ARGUMENT MORE CONVINCING. It just makes you look like you’ve lost your temper.
            Why are you quoting the bible? Do you think I’ve never read it?
            Are all your loved ones (that have died) in heaven now?
            If so how are you sure?
            If they are instead in hell how could you go to heaven and be happy?
            Are there people you hate in hell now?
            What I do evil all my life and accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior on my death bed?
            Infinite punishment for a finite crime is not justice.

            “If you don’t love me I’ll burn your house down with you in it.” It is not a statement made by someone who loves me. My rejection of such love is freewill.
            Do you love me as Christ commanded?
            If I choose to reject love that will you burn my house down with me in it?

            If you can prove that god exists?

          • Dianne

            LOCKED CAPS IS WHAT I PREFER, AND IF YOU ARE GOING TO REPLY TO ME THEN GET USE TO IT.

            I AM NOT LOSING MY TEMPER. IN FACT MY HEART IS CALM AND SO IS MY SPIRIT.

            I’M GLAD TO HEAR THAT YOU HAVE READ THE BIBLE, HOWEVER I SEE FROM YOUR RESPONSE THAT YOU HAVE COMPLETELY REJECTED IT’S APPLICATION FOR YOUR LIFE. THAT SADDENS ME SOLDIER.

            THERE IS NO ONE IN HELL THAT I HATE. WHERE DID YOU GET THAT IDEA FROM???

            IF YOU LIVE TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS ON YOUR DEATH BED AFTER LIVING AN EVIL LIFE, THEN YES YOU WILL BE SAVED. HOWEVER YOU MAY NOT GET THAT CHANCE, FOR NONE OF US ARE PROMISED TO SEE TOMORROW AS I AM SURE YOU KNOW.

            JESUS PAID THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR YOUR SINS. HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS, AND HIS TRIUMPH OVER DEATH IN RESURRECTION VICTORY TO ENSURE YOUR SALVATION …. YOURS OR ANYONE’S REJECTION OF THE OFFER OF SALVATION THROUGH GRACE WHICH IS THE GIFT OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS WILL SEND YOU TO HELL, BECAUSE ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN FORGIVE YOUR SINS AND SAVE YOUR ETERNAL SOUL.

            I GAVE YOU THE LORD’S LOVING INVITATION OF SALVATION…. IT IS YOUR CHOICE TO RECIEVE IT OR REJECT IT. BUT REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN YOUR OWN FATE…. AND YOU WILL BE WITHOUT EXCUSE ON JUDGEMENT DAY.

            IF YOU HAVE READ THE BIBLE THEN YOU KNOW WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT THE PROOF OF HIS EXISTENCE. AS A REFRESHER, GO TO ROMANS CHAPTER 1 AND READ. ALSO READ JOB 38-42

            MAY THE LORD JESUS, BY THE POWER IF THE HOLY SPIRIT OPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND GIVE YOU HIS PEACE.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Yes, Truth matters. Inter-faith is like no faith. Prayers should be offered to the one true living God alone whom the Holy Bible teaches. Jesus Christ is God. USA was created by the Christians and by no other. USA belongs to God. Those who oppose Christianity are UnAmerican and just residents.

    • Longbowgun

      Treaty of Tripoli
      “Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

      It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        All US Founders were Christian or Christian-educated. Americans had nothing else. They got everything useful from the Holy Bible and the Christian British. If you didn’t read the Holy Bible and the Christan British writings, you’d never discover how everything Americans stole from the Christian British. You invented stuff, though, such as cars, airplanes, rockets, and computers.

        • Longbowgun

          You just read… Did you even read the words the founding fathers wrote and unanimously signed into law?

          “They got everything useful from the Holy Bible and the Christian British.”
          Which is how they invented an entirely new form of government that was secular?
          Why doesn’t the Constitution ever mention Jesus?
          Are you not an American?
          Did you ever go to school?
          Did you learn American history?
          You have a lot of learning to do!

          SEVEN of the eight founders of the United States of America
          did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, miracles or the idea that “faith” in such things was a virtue.
          They did not believe in ‘personal relationships’ with gods.
          They did not trust clergy.

          The eight founding fathers of the United States were not religious.
          Only John Jay, the least remembered, explicitly adhered to a Christian religion.

          George Washington (Deist/Anti-supernaturalist)
          James Madison (Deist?/Atheist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Religionist)
          Benjamin Franklin (Deist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Religionist)
          Thomas Paine (Deist?/Atheist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Theist)
          Thomas Jefferson (Deist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Religionist)
          John Adams (Deist?/Anti-supernaturalist/Anti-Theist)
          John Jay (Christian)
          Alexander Hamilton (Deist/Anti-supernaturalist)

          “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
          – Benjamin Franklin

          “To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.”
          – Thomas Paine

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            It’s all vain. US Founders left testimonies that Christianity is the only true religion which USA is founded upon. Read their books, not quoting stuff out of context. Read Mayflower Compact and Declaration of Independence. USA was created by Christians for spreading Christianity, not Sodomy. No thanks to today’s perv America’s filthy imperialism.

          • Longbowgun

            I like how you dodged all my questions.
            It makes you seem so much more knowledgeable.
            That’s sarcasm. Do you have that in your country?

            The Mayflower compact is not the governing laws of the US.
            “We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James…”
            It doesn’t found the US.
            NOT.
            EVEN.
            CLOSE.

            The Declaration of Independence is not the governing laws of the US.

            The “USA was created by Christians for spreading Christianity…” Really?
            Why is jesus not in the Constitution?
            Have you renounced Reason, Logic, and Critical Thinking?

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            US Constitution is a set of mere classroom rules and it is based on the Christian principles of Christian Mayflower Compact and the Christian Declaration of Independence. Read the whole things always. Don’t pick and choose quotes. The US Founders and the Constitution creaters assumed every American citizen to be a decent civilized Christian. Any other thing was inconceivable to them. Today, America has been hijacked by secular hedonists and is going down.

          • Longbowgun

            You are not a reasonable person. You are delusional.

          • Longbowgun

            “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” – Benjamin Franklin

  • ZappaSaid88

    This flies in the face of the Greece vs Galloway decision