Albany Common Council (N.Y.) Votes Down Prayer Proposal Following FFRF Complaint

The Freedom From Religion Foundation objected to a proposal by Anton Konev of the Common Council of Albany, N.Y., to open city council meetings with prayer. The Foundation urged the council to vote down the proposal and to continue its current practice of a moment of silence, which “already accommodates private prayer, and does not exclude or offend anyone.” In the letter (Feb. 3, 2010) to Albany’s mayor and common council, Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor imparted: “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.” Council President Carolyn McLaughlin, who voted for a losing prayer resolution in 1999, told the Albany Times Union that although she is devoutly religious and believes strongly in the power of prayer, “Just as strongly as I believe in what I believe in, I respect another person’s right not to share that same belief. I think that when we made this compromise (moment of silence) years ago that this was in the best interests of everybody.” Councilwoman Jackie Jenkins-Cox, who voted present, said she appreciated Konev’s passion but added, “I like to keep my prayer between me and God.” Council members voted against the proposal 12 to 2.

Freedom From Religion Foundation