Atheist Group Protests City Council Prayers

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A group of atheists has launched a campaign to end city council prayers in Lakeland, Fla.

Lakeland City commissioners begin each meeting with a prayer, which is why a group of atheists is preparing to sue them.

"It looks as though we may have no recourse. We're meeting with our attorney on Wednesday and we're going to start sorting things out from another angle," Atheist of Florida President John Kieffer said.

For months, the group Atheists of Florida has been warning city leaders in Lakeland and Tampa, Fla. that prayer before government meetings discriminates against their beliefs. They are demanding it be changed to a moment of silence.

Recently, a Lakeland council meeting got heated over the issue.

"My name is John Kieffer, I'm a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars," Kieffer said. "All of you should be ashamed by what happened tonight, this is what's called fascism here."

But several members of the local community spoke out in favor of keeping the prayer in place.

"Next it's going to be 'Under God.' Next it's 'In God We Trust.' Next it's going to be a Godless society," said Richard Geringswald, who supports prayer.

The heated exchanges kept going even after the meeting was over.

Meanwhile, city leaders in both Lakeland and Tampa are determined to keep praying in Jesus' name. In response, Atheists of Florida will be taking the issue to court.

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Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at