Action Alert!

Object to Columbia, S.C. City Council Decision to Add Prayer to its Meetings

August 31, 2009

Please help FFRF object to the Columbia City Council's recent decision to break with its secular tradition by opening its meetings with prayer. FFRF sent a letter to the South Carolina city's Mayor and City Council on August 28 urging them to keep government meetings secular so as to not exclude its nonreligious constituents. Tameika Isaac Devine, a Councilwoman and possible mayoral candidate, proposed the change because she was "surprised" that the City Council did not open its meetings with prayer. Council members, except Councilman Kirkman Finlay who was absent, unanimously passed the policy with no discussion.

In FFRF's letter, Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote: "Government prayer is unnecessary, inappropriate and divisive. Calling upon Council members and citizens to rise and pray (even silently) is coercive, embarrassing and beyond the scope of secular city government. Council members are free to pray privately or to worship on their own time in their own way. They do not need to worship on taxpayers' time."

FFRF urges you to write a polite, firm and signed message to Mayor Robert Coble and members of the Columbia City Council telling them why you object to government prayers. It would also be helpful to make this the subject of a letter to the editor (see newspapers listed below). For maximum effectiveness, please write as an individual, not as someone responding to this action alert. (Do not forward our action alert to the target!) We are pleased to receive "blind" duplicates of your letters or responses by email: , Freedom From Religion Foundation.

For more information:

Read the Foundation's letter to the Mayor and City Council

Read Columbia Free Times coverage


Mayor Robert Coble and Members of the City Council
P.O. Box 147
Columbia SC 29217
Fax: 803-733-8633

Mayor Robert Coble,
E.W. Cromartie,
Sam Davis,
Tameika Devine,
Daniel J. Rickenmann,
Kirkman Finlay,
Dr. Belinda Gergel,

Local Media Contacts

Please remember to keep letters to the editor concise (under 150 words) and sign your name and address.

The Columbia Star
Editor Mike Maddock
P.O. Box 5955
Columbia SC 29250

Columbia Free Times

Action Alert by Bonnie Gutsch

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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