Marion residents react to city's prayer proposal - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Marion residents react to city's prayer proposal

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MARION (KWWL) -

Prayer at public meetings -- it's a tradition for many in government, including the Iowa legislature.

While some find the practice controversial, the United States Supreme Court ruled just this week that the practice is constitutional.

City council members in Marion began discussing opening meetings with prayer last fall, but the city attorney wanted to hold off until the Supreme Court ruling.

It's been less than a week, and the city is already moving forward.

Paul Draper is serving his first term on the Marion City Council. He'd like to see the group pray before each meeting before making the tough choices the council is faced with.

"As we discover or decide what we're going to do with our city money and to our citizens, I would feel comfortable with some divine guidance at those meetings," said Draper.

People we talked to support the idea.

"I say there's no problem with it and it's just a personal freedom," said Gary Turner, who lives in Marion.

"People should do as they please," said David Johnson, who also lives in Marion. "Let them say a prayer and those who don't then they shouldn't have to."

"I believe they should," said Patricia Day, who lives in Mount Vernon. "I believe in prayer before any occasion."

We asked viewers what you thought, on our website and on our Facebook page.

Many of you also agreed with the idea, but others disagreed.

"Totally disagree with this, there should be separation of church and state," user Shane wrote on Facebook. "As an atheist I don't want religion governing my life."

"America has no official religion and thus no religion should be favored over another in public schools or government buildings," wrote user Michael. "If you want a government fused with religion, it's called a theocracy. If you want to see how well that works, read up on the Middle East."

To help keep prayers in Marion inclusive for people of all religions, the City Council created a subcommittee Thursday to create a prayer policy.

"We're not picking a denomination here," Draper said.

However, he noted the prayer would likely be Judeo-Christian in nature.

"We're just saying we're all going for the same guy, so we'll see how it works," he said.

Draper says the city council subcommittee will draft an ordinance that the City Council would have to approve. He believes that could happen in the next few weeks.

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