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AU Thought Police Complain About Prayer in Wichita

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Posted on July 22 2010 9:00 am
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog LisaGraas.com since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.

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Vickie Sandell Stangl, President of the Great Plains chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), is the latest AU activist to attack freedom of conscience at a local city council meeting.  Sandell Stangl recently told Wichita City Council members, “There is no good reason to use public time to express private beliefs” as she used public time to express her private belief that prayer should not be allowed.

According to Wichita’s city code, invocations before city council meetings are diverse and fall far short of respecting an establishment of religion.

The presiding officer shall announce the invocation to be given by a member of a rotating panel invited for such purposes from all the religious faiths in the community.

Ostensibly, AU’s mission is to defend the clause related to religion in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Accepting diversity of belief is not what AU is about, though.

Viewing the U.S. as a nation in danger of being taken over by politically conservative theocrats, AU seeks to diminish and/or eliminate conservative religious organizations’ involvement in public policy and political life. Toward this end, AU initiates policy debates, files lawsuits, and organizes protests aimed at discrediting and eliminating the presence of religious symbols and practices in public places. For example, AU has opposed the recitation of prayers at school graduation ceremonies, and has fought to remove displays of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

Sandell Stangl has noted publicly her personal belief that the views of religious people lack relevance and should be suppressed from public discourse.  Further, she manifests a gross misunderstanding of what constitutes “forced prayer.”

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