FFRF stops city-sponsored prayer breakfast (June 1, 2012)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has curtailed the government endorsement of a prayer breakfast in Jacksonville, Fla., previously sponsored by the city’s Mayor.

Jacksonville’s Mayor Alvin Brown held an Interfaith Celebration on April 20, 2012. The event was promoted on the City of Jacksonville website. Local news stories reported the city financially sponsored the event.

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor sent a letter to Brown on May 8 asking him to refrain from sponsoring religious events while acting in the official capacity as major of Jacksonville. “It is beyond your purview as an elected official to misuse your office to promote your personal religious views in this divisive manner,” she wrote.

Gaylor noted that private organizations may host such breakfasts and invite public officials to attend as individuals, but that public officials and mayor’s offices may not sponsor religious events.

FFRF had filed an open records request for the city’s records of the 2012 prayer breakfast to learn what government resources were used to promote the event.

A legal counsel of the city responded in a June 1 letter to inform FFRF that references to the prayer breakfast have been removed from the city’s website and that Brown has been advised on what activities are in line with the Constitution.

Freedom From Religion Foundation