Ensure that nonreligious have equal representation at Abilene City Council meetings

Recently, an Abilene, Texas, resident informed us at FFRF that each Abilene City Council meeting begins with a religious invocation delivered by one of the council members.

While FFRF believes that the best practice for government meetings is to forego the invocation and get straight to work, since a prayer may ostracize some members of the community, unfortunately the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this practice is legal.

As an Abilene constituent, however, you have a powerful voice in your community and we need you to stand up for secularism and inclusivity at public governing events by asking your council to skip the prayer, or replace it with a moment of silence. While there is no law prohibiting the council from beginning each meeting with prayer, it is unnecessary, disrespectful and divisive to include it.

The Abilene City Council needs to hear from you about how this practice affects you and other nonreligious citizens!

Please attend the Abilene City Council’s next meeting this Thursday, March 14, at City Hall (555 Walnut Street) at 8:30 a.m. and speak out against this unnecessary prayer. The public comment period of the meetings is open for input on any item and is not restricted to the agenda.

Please feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided below.

As a secular Abilene voter, I am concerned with the inclusion of prayer at the commencement of every City Council meeting. It is unnecessary and divisive and makes me feel politically ostracized in my own community.

There is no practical reason for the council to begin each meeting with a prayer. I am urging the council to skip the prayer at each meeting and get down to legislative business in order to reduce the appearance of religious preference and foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all Abilene citizens, regardless of personal religious views.

Thank you for your time.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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