(Memphis) The Freedom from Religion Foundation believes Memphis is one of the worst offenders in the nation, when it comes to the separation of church and state in which the group believes.
The Memphis City Council has opened their meetings with a prayer since 1968.
Some council members say they’ve received complaints from the public about the prayers, but the majority of people in Memphis support it.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation says it doesn’t care how many people support the prayers, they believe it’s in violation of the constitution.
Others however point out the phrase never appears in the Constitution.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation says they get complains about prayer at government meetings from around the country, but they consider Memphis City Council to be one of the worst.
“Exclusively Christian prayers, goody bags to the ministers, giving them all kinds of attention at the meetings, turning it into kind of religious ritual,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor with the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
The Foundation believes some people are made to think they must pray also, or council won’t consider their requests.
Council Member Myron Lowery disagrees, “That has no effect at all on any of the decision we make or the deliberations we make. We accept things based on their merit.
Lowery says he thinks the Memphis City Council is a target, because it’s been doing it for so long.
He also says members promote diversity through the prayers and invite priests, rabbis and Islamic leaders to take part.
Regardless, the allegations could cost the city.
Lowery says he hopes the city’s attorneys will handle the case, but if they have to bring in outside attorneys to fight the suit, it could cost tax payer money.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation says they have not filed the lawsuit against the city yet, but they expect to very soon.