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Council limits prayer proposal to only Christian faiths

The Casa Grande Dispatch reports the city council voted 4-2 with one member absent on Monday to amend a resolution so that it no longer allows prayers from a variety of faiths before council meetings.

Councilman Rob Hudelson moved to amend the proposal, saying Christianity is in the country's history.

Attorney Denis Fitzgibbons said the city is opening itself up to lawsuits by only allowing Christian prayer. Hudelson said during the meeting that Fitzgibbons is paid to avoid these types of problems.

"Oh, you'll get into this problem," Fitzgibbons replied.

Councilman Gilbert Lopez voted to reject the amended version. He is a member of the St. James Catholic Church's Knights of Columbus.

"When we took the oath of office, we said we would uphold the laws of the state of Arizona and the United States," Lopez said.

Mayor Jon Thompson is a Christian and he also voted against the resolution. He said during the meeting that the council is knowingly heading toward litigation that it can't afford.

"I'm not going to get the taxpayers sued," Thompson said. "If I had a problem with what was being said during the prayer, I wouldn't pay attention."

Gary Lewis voted in favor of the Christian amendment, having been previously reassured by Fitzgibbons that under the original measure, he would have been able to step out of the room if the prayer was contrary to his faith.

"Under my faith, I wouldn't sit here and listen to it," Lewis said. "I would walk away."

Fitzgibbons is rewriting the resolution to include the council's changes, and expects to bring it back at the next meeting.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2024

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