Wichita City Council Keeps Prayer at Meetings

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The Wichita, Kansas City Council said it will continue to open its meetings with a prayer despite a protest from a secular group.

A representative from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State told council members in their meeting on Tuesday that the prayers promote religion. Television station KSN reported that Vickie Sandell Stang said the invocations should include prayers from all faiths.

"Any member of the city council or staff can freely pray any time of the day or may come together as a group in private before conducting city business," Stangl told the council.

"I don't think I can exclude that from my daily life just because I walk into city hall," replied Councilwoman Sue Schlapp.

"I don't think it's just for us that we're asking for the prayers. I think that we're asking that this day be blessed as well. I, for one, would like to continue to be blessed before the council meeting," said LaVonta Williams, another council member.

"City hall is everyone's city hall no matter what your beliefs are," Mayor Carl Brewer said.

"Yes, your honor we certainly appreciate that. We just maintain that it is public business and religious sentiments really have no place," replied Stangl.

The council said they already have an interfaith group that selects who will give the prayers and they don't plan to stop the practice.

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