City Invites Community To Pray, ACLU Takes Action To Stop It

Eric Scheiner | August 16, 2018
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The proclamation is called “40 Days of Celebration Of Life, Love and Family” so it’s no surprise that the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have issued letters asking to bring it to an end.

The city of Kissimmee, Fla. issued the proclamation last week. It recognizes that “everyday people from other parts of the world are moving into Kissimmee” and mentions Puerto Rico and Venezuela by name.

It also mentions “the global proliferation of violence in our society, including our schools and recreational centers, puts family values and the safety of our community at risk.” 

So in order to “promote peace, solidarity, respect and mutual care among all residents of the City, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion or familial status” the city invites “all residents to join them in this celebration by praying, doing acts of kindness, watching over the safety of neighbors and fellow citizens, volunteering and uniting to help those in need to make our City the best place to live.”

Uh-oh. It said “praying” - that can be triggering. Cue the outrage.

The ACLU sent a letter to city officials requesting the city to immediately cease promoting the days of prayer, which is set to start on Aug. 21.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

'While city employees are within their rights to hold religious beliefs in their personal capacities, such actions are wholly inappropriate and unconstitutional for city employees to incorporate these religious beliefs into any government business. As such, implementations of their proclamations violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,' read the letter from ACLU.


According to their website, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is also “asking the mayor of Kissimmee, Fla., to rescind an unconstitutional proclamation calling for prayer, and to cancel an upcoming city prayer event.” 

The organization has sent a letter to the mayor about the issue. 

“The Prayer is not a legal or effective way of uniting a community, FFRF notes, as it excludes the nearly quarter of adult Americans who identify as nonreligious, while also betraying the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.”

At the moment, Kissimmee is sticking to their guns, the city web site says,”This Proclamation was not City initiated and was requested by members of the community.”

“The City of Kissimmee does not endorse or support any single religion or faith-based organization.”

For now, the “40 days of Celebration Of Life, Love and Family” stands as proclaimed.