Phoenix City Council votes to restore invocation

- The Phoenix City Council has reversed course on a plan to do away with prayer at council meetings.

Prayer will now be allowed at the meetings; it's the latest twist to the controversy that erupted in January when members of a satanic temple wanted to give a prayer at a council meeting.

"I don't accept defeat readily, and neither do my colleagues, and so we came back. We obviously won some votes we didn't get before. The last time it failed 5-4, this time, it passed 7-2, with only the Mayor and Councilwoman Gallego voting no," said Jim Waring.

After another long meeting of much back and forth, the council passed a motion that allows prayers from a chaplain of the Phoenix Police or Fire Departments.

To some, the removal of a recently instated "moment of silent prayer" is a step backwards.

"I think there's a concern that if we're only hearing from representation from a single chaplain representing only one religious belief that by it's nature marginalizes everybody else," said Jeremy Helfgot.

But to many others who were vocal at the meeting, it was a big win for a 65-year tradition that strongly missed when it was silenced.

"We knew there was a constitutional way to do this, for people who were saying you shouldn't be praying at all, Congress and all 50 states, as you heard in the testimony, have been doing it since the country was founded," said Waring.

Under the guidance of a city attorney, it was determined that the motion for a new invocation ordinance is constitutional but those opposed believe that's not the true issue at stake.

"If there's going to be an invocation, it has to be a privilege that's available to everyone and anyone regardless of their religious views regardless of whether we agree with them or not regardless of our political standing," said Helfgot.

After the council had received much criticism and pressure to make a decision on the issue, Councilman Waring said you can't always trust what you read on Twitter.

"None of them are talking to constitutional scholars who work on this issue everyday, none of them are spending hours in meetings with their colleagues trying to hash this out, they're just people spouting off on twitter behind fake names," said Waring.

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