CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio (AP) – A chaplain’s prayer invoking the name of Jesus to open council meetings in a northeast Ohio city is stirring debate over separation of church and state.
For years it was traditional to begin Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) Falls council meetings with quotes, poems or a moment of silence.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that changed after councilman Terry Mader was appointed council chaplain in January and began ending his prayer with the phrase, “In Jesus’ name, we pray.”
Some residents are asking for a general invocation that doesn’t single out a particular religion while others are urging the council to keep the chaplain’s prayer as is.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled prayers before public meetings are constitutional but is currently weighing a challenge involving mainly Christian prayers.
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