Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

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Church State Issues

Prayer out of place at meeting

Feb 22, 2014

Arizona Republic

Prayer out of place at meeting

Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:17 PM

Regarding the return of prayer at Mesa Public Schools board meetings:

When I have attended school-board meetings and the meeting was preceded by prayer, I felt I was expected to join in and agree with what was said. If I spoke up, or in any way showed dissent, I felt I would be ostracized. I felt as though I was attending a religion-specific event, not a civic meeting where everyone’s views are encouraged. I felt excluded because I did not fit into the box and angry because it is a public proceeding, taking up public time.

Prayer is religion and has no place in public government meetings. Using prayer is coercive. It is coercion no matter how gently it is applied.

— Mary Speropulos, Mesa