Arizona City Council Votes to Abandon Proposal to Allow Only Christian Prayers at Meetings

Congress PrayerCOOLIDGE, Ariz. — Just a week after council members in an Arizona city voted to move forward with a proposal to allow only Christian prayers to be presented at meetings, the council has now unanimously voted to abandon the idea.

As previously reported, Coolidge 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.”

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

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

  • Connect with Christian News

“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.”

Following criticism over the matter, on Monday, both Hudelson and Thompson—along with all members of the council—agreed to discontinue with the plan. It then voted to move forward with the original proposal to allow leaders of all religions to present invocations at city council meetings.

“History will look back on us and say, ‘There is a city council who stood for Christ and Christ alone,’” Hudelson said prior to the vote, according to the Associated Press. “For that, we should never be ashamed.”

The outlet also reports that Byron Sanders, pastor of Fairhaven Baptist Church, had asked for the original proposal, which permitted prayers from all faiths.

“Christianity has always been inclusive,” he asserted at Monday’s gathering. “Christians settled in America to give everybody an opportunity.”

According to the office of the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, the first prayer of the Continental Congress was presented on Sept. 7, 1774 by Jacob Duche of Christ Church of Philadelphia, and was delivered in the name of Jesus.

“O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the kingdoms, empires and governments,” he prayed, “look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee.”


A special message from the publisher...

Dear Reader, our hearts are deeply grieved by the ongoing devastation in Iraq, and through this we have been compelled to take a stand at the gates of hell against the enemy who came to kill and destroy. Bibles for Iraq is a project to put Arabic and Kurdish audio Bibles into the hands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees—many of whom are illiterate and who have never heard the gospel.Will you stand with us and make a donation today to this important effort? Please click here to send a Bible to a refugee >>

Print Friendly
  • FoJC_Forever

    Pray individually, then let your actions and proposals be led by the LORD. This will make a bigger impact than a public invocation anyway.

    Follow Jesus, find Truth.

    • Josey

      There is power in the prayer of agreement as Jesus stated in Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. We should never fear what man would threaten us with and I don’t believe God called us to live as hermits in this world, I will not be ashamed to profess His name in public or pray in public and if the Holy Spirit leads me I will shout from the roof top too w/out shame or fear of what mere man can do to me. God is in control!

      • FoJC_Forever

        Then they can pray individually together, coming into agreement with God and His Word. This is where the Power of Prayer resides, not public invocations which are nothing more than religious speeches.

        Those who live their lives before others, to be seen by others, have received their reward – the acknowledgement of others. Those who seek the LORD, to live their lives unto Him alone, will receive their reward from God alone.

      • Taylor the Sturdy

        You haven’t read the bible. Or you just like to cherry pick, which is it? Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 218 helpful votes

        “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

  • The Last Trump

    Unbelievable cowardice. And these people have the audacity to call themselves Christians!

    “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.”
    Heavens no! LITIGATION!! The unspeakable horror!

    Please. Real Christians are dying brutally around the world for standing firm in their faith and honouring the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob no matter the cost. Historically fed to lions, soaked in oil and set ablaze to be used as torches for Roman emperors, beheaded, crucified, drowned and killed in every manner imaginable simply because of their faithfulness to Christ.
    But LITIGATION! Egads! No, no, no! THIS (!?) is the line that cannot be crossed by the limp wristed and spineless “Christians” of western civilization today!

    How embarrassing. How disgraceful. That these cowardly pretenders would have the audacity to compare themselves to the true brave and fearless warriors of the faith who sacrificed all that we might individually possess the glorious gift of the Word of God with the ease and accessibility that we enjoy today. Immediately surrender at the first sign of trouble and bow to Satan at the earliest opportunity to avoid such undesirable unpleasantries as mere litigation!

    So much for professing to believe in and serve an all powerful and all knowing God.
    Did the arm of the Lord suddenly become too short?
    Unable to see us through the insurmountable obstacle of mere litigation!!?

    What a joke. These people, like sooooo many others today, did not recognize the opportunity here that was immediately before them. They instead saw it only as an obstacle to their faith.
    And completely missed out on a potentially monumental milestone of their faith to present to Christ during their judgment. Faith means that you first START OUT, before you know how things will turn out, because you trust in the One that make things WORK OUT.
    If you are ever blessed with such an opportunity as this, wisely take hold of the occasion to honour God and do not make the same mistake they did. What a wasted opportunity to shine and complete failure to produce fruit for the kingdom of God. Over litigation! Sad 🙁

    • Peter Leh

      IT is called business. The city council is still responsible to the tax payers.

    • Taylor the Sturdy

      Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 218 helpful votes

      “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

      Read your bible.

      • Josey

        yes read your bible and understand it in context please. These were not sounding a trumpet as you suggest, attention wouldn’t have even been brought to it if the opposer’s , those that claim to be Christian hadn’t brought attention to it.

    • Longbowgun

      “Unbelievable cowardice.”
      By upholding the law?

    • sandra-paquette-

      The Last Trump – well said, and the scripture says, Judgement starts in the house of the Lord, and this is the condition of our churches to-day. Unreal.

  • Josey

    Christians settled in America because they wanted to worship Almighty God w/out persecution, they wouldn’t like what is going on today, and yes Christianity is about serving God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to Heaven, for Jesus Himself said He alone is the Truth, the Life and the Way to the Father, it is only by His sacrifice and the acceptance and belief in Him by those who are called by His name that one will enter into the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the ticket and those who are ashamed of Him today when He comes He will be ashamed of them like some of the cowards mentioned in this article.

    • Peter Leh

      “Christians settled in America because they wanted to worship Almighty God w/out persecution”

      they also had no problem with slavery.. indeed they would not like what is going on today. 🙂

      BTW so do you think just because the pilgrims were christians.. the government should only allow christian prayer at the exclusion of other faiths? What was that about worship without persecution?

      • Josey

        Slavery, that is a load of b.s., there is slave organizations going on today but has nothing to do with color there are children being used as slaves in the sex market, skin color doesn’t matter there. And blacks if that is what you are referring to get preferential treatment in a lot of jobs just because of their skin color to meet race quotas even if a white has better credentials for a certain job. And if you hadn’t notice there is a black man in the White House, is he a slave? He is a puppet of the NWO by choice but slave in the sense you are referring to, I think not, many blacks have the same opportunities as whites in this world but because 70% of them have bought into a welfare state, they remain in their poverty, they scream about injustices but do nothing to fight it but kill one another. I love all people of color and pray for their blessings ever bit as much as a color of another. Many blacks stand up against this racial b.s. for they understand what a crock of an excuse it is being used to cause racial division. And my statement about the pilgrims, puritans, colonians who believe in Christ is just this, the nation was founded by them just as muslim nations or hindu nations have those religions as their national religion and yes if you come to this Country seeking refuge for whatever reason, you are coming to a nation that was mostly made up of Christians, there were no mosques back then, only churches. Don’t come to this country if you can’t learn our language and accept our constitution, just stay in the countries that support your beliefs and don’t come here to change our Country to believe in your false gods.

        • Peter Leh

          “There is slave organizations going on today but has nothing to do with
          color there are children being used as slaves in the sex market, skin
          color doesn’t matter there.”

          Nor has it ever been about skin color… really

          the rest of your paragraph, which certainly have a lot of words, seem to be political banter. I left politics years ago and will leave that to you. I will not discuss it.

          anything else .. i am open.

    • Taylor the Sturdy

      Why don’t Christians read the bible? Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 218 helpful votes

      “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

      • Josey

        I do believe that when we do our alms as Jesus said that we should do them in a way that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing but my post is about not giving alms but about making a stand on agreeing in prayer with other children of God, there may be some there who have wrong motives in putting on a show but only God knows that you don’t and neither do I,for only God knows what is in the heart of man but I am just as assured that there are those who truly believe in the power of praying in agreement and that is what God will answer.. Didn’t you read Jesus words in Matthew 18:19,20 19 Again
        I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any
        thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which
        is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. There are times where we enter our closet to pray but there are times that corporate prayer in agreement is needed.

    • Kelpie C

      Yes, they wanted to be able to practice their religion, but if you look at the history of the early colonies, you will see that they also wanted to be able to discriminate against other Christians and other religions. It makes sense to keep government secular so that everyone can pray as they like.

      • Longbowgun

        …or not pray… or be forced to pray… or be forced to hear prayer.

        • Josey

          Almighty God knows where each heart is at and if they don’t pray in faith it doesn’t natter anyway, for without faith it is impossible to please God. I have family members when we get together and the prayer over the food is given, they can choose to bow and agree or not do anything, no one holds it against them they can even excuse themselves but their not praying doesn’t negate those who are praying in faith and giving thanks for what God has given to us, And they are not forced to hear anything but what they want to hear, one thing about the mind is when you are thinking of one thing, that is what you hear. Before I gave my life to Christ and someone prayed I didn’t even hear the prayer because my mind was on other things, sick of that excuse that don’t pray out loud in public cause you are forcing me to hear that prayer, you want to be honest you aren’t even listening to that prayer if you choose not too but just maybe you are afraid of the prayer if you are being honest cause if convicts you, jmo and like I said if you don’t want to participate in a public prayer you always have the choice to leave during it, bunch of whiners who would accept responsibility for their own choices. You just want to push God out of everything is what it boils down too. Too bad for you cause I’ll pray when I feel led and where I feel led too!

          • Longbowgun

            Family gatherings are not city counsel meetings.
            Matthew 6:1-34

          • Josey

            It is still corporate prayer whether at a family gathering or at a church or at a public meeting, people still have the freedom of choice to walk out during the prayer if they don’t agree, your logic is nothing more than straining at a gnat as the religious leaders so often did when Jesus walked on this earth 2,000 yrs ago, God sees the heart, can’t hide the truth from Him. People that can never make their own choices to stay and would rather complain instead of just walking out if they disagree, their staying is only a hindrance anyway so leave, it is a complaining striving devil doing the complaining, hypocrites who pretend and claim that they go into their closet to pray in which I doubt that they do anyway because relationship with Christ is a pure one and they would hate the conviction and chastisement they would get from the Lord of their complaining spirit if they even went into that prayer closet, it is just used as an excuse to twist God’s word and to keep Christians thinking that they should be closet Christians but there are times when corporate prayer is needed and there are times when aloneness with Jesus is needed. You don’t seem to know the difference. I’m done with our chat so don’t expect me to respond to you again. I see you and where you stand and what you are.

          • Longbowgun

            The separation of church and state is part of the highest law of our land… whether you like it or not.

  • Josey

    Here’s a passage those who objected should read found in Mark 8: 31-38 31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul. 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
    Verse 33 should really stand out to these who have opposed this for they do not savour the things of God but the things of men. Although, Jesus is discussing what is about to happen to Him on the cross and this opposition or giving in to not praying before the meetings is small in comparison to what Jesus was about to suffer, it still applies to the situation for these opposed are more worried about problems that might arise if they pray before their meetings than they are about God’s will in the matter.

    • Taylor the Sturdy

      Do you always cherry pick? Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 218 helpful votes

      “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

  • Peter Leh

    Well that was a FAST turn around!

  • respectourdifferences

    Wise decision.

  • Taylor the Sturdy

    Jesus specifically said not to pray in public. Read your bible.
    Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 218 helpful votes

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

    • John_33

      It was not prayer in public that was the issue as much as praying in public for others to see. Look at Jesus’ own example since He prayed publicly and privately. Many other righteous leaders in the Bible prayed publicly – especially when it was a national prayer involving the people. It’s good for our leaders to pray over our public meetings, and American officials have done so throughout its history.