Atheists Not Happy With Council Prayer Vote listen03/18/10 Kate Bradshaw
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The question over whether the Tampa City Council should stop praying before each meeting came to a head this morning. The council unanimously adopted an informal resolution to continue reciting prayer at the beginning of each meeting.
The debate that has raged at 315 East Kennedy Blvd. for countless meetings brought out preachers and atheists, who would have their say during public comment. At times the debate morphed into a theological discussion, with Christian leaders insisting on Godâ€™s existence. Atheists say that misses the point. All they want is a moment of silence. But today, council members said enough was enough. Council member John Dingfelder said it was time to move on.
The atheists were not pleased. John Kieffer, president of Atheists of Florida, said that oneâ€™s beliefs should be kept to his or her self in a government setting.
Jason Rodriguez, another atheist who spoke at the meeting, said that governmentâ€™s stance on the prayer issue, may have more to do with this being an election year.
Rodriguez said that this isnâ€™t over, and theyâ€™ll continue to testify at City Hall on their right to have their existential views acknowledged.