FFRF letter ends Lord’s Prayer at Michigan senior center’s lunches

FFRF halted the “Lord’s Prayer” from daily recitations at Cheboygan Center, a senior center serving around 110 seniors a day, five days a week, in Cheboygan, Mich. The Christian prayer was delivered via microphone by a Cheboygan Center employee before meals each day. FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote the director of the center (Feb. 23, 2011): “Federal regulations prohibit senior centers receiving federal funding to engage in religious activities at government-sponsored functions such as senior lunches. . . . Allowing, promoting or encouraging prayer at these government-subsidized meals places your agency in direct violation of the federal mandate.” Markert pointed out that the center’s “support of public prayer during these meals ignored the rights of other seniors who may not wish to participate in the religious activities because they disagree with a particular faith publicly exercised, they prefer to be private in their worship, or they do not believe at all.” The complainant informed FFRF March 3 that an attorney for the senior center had agreed with FFRF’s concerns, and the center has since discontinued the prayers. — Bonnie Gutsch

Freedom From Religion Foundation