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When most people think of First Amendment rights, they think of free speech and the freedom to practice any religion they choose. It also prohibits government from preferring a particular religion over another or establishing a national religion.
Debates about Constitutional interepretations aside, the City of Myrtle Beach felt they may have said 'Jesus' a little too much in their opening prayer before public city council meetings. With the ACLU cracking down on this type of behavior, they begrudgingly decided to do something about it. Rather than removing the prayer altogether or opting for a moment of silence, Council insisted on keeping a standardized prayer. The Sun News originally reported the story here. WPDE dug a little deeper into the trouble some surrounding area schools have faced with a similar issue. You can find that here.
The full text of the standardized prayer is as follows:
Almighty God, Creator and sustainer of all that is or will ever be, accept our profound gratitude for this day, and all of its blessings of life and freedom. We remember those who make our freedom possible. It is because of their sacrifice that our community can practice our shared and enduring values of varied expressions of faith, civic duty and respect for all.
We gather today to render our public service in a proper manner, and perform our civic duties in good order. Therefore, we solemnly invoke Divine wisdom and guidance for this Council in this day's meeting.
Perhaps many years ago, this would be considered being overly sensitive and too politically correct, but with increased interest in doing business with Asian partners and secular proponents organizing in our state, it may be best to err on the side of consideration and respect for the diversity of beliefs in our community.