MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Let's make a deal. That's what the Memphis City Council is saying to the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The foundation threatened to sue the city if council members continue to allow prayer at meetings. The city council adopted new prayer policies in hopes of stopping the lawsuit.
It's a long standing tradition for a preacher to step to the podium in the Memphis City Council chambers and open up the council meeting with a prayer.
But Annie Laurie Gaylor with the Freedom from Religion Foundation calls the council's practice of praying before meetings "divisive."
"Our government is not supposed to have a religion, it's supposed to be neutral about religion," Gaylor stated. "At the constitutional convention our founders did not pray when they adopted our godless and secular constitution so why does the Memphis City Council need to pray over liquor licenses, sewers and variances?"
Under threat of lawsuit, the city council adopted a policy that prohibits prayer participants from trying to convert people in attendance to their viewpoints. And, it will include a note telling people they're not required to participate in the opening prayer.
Gaylor says Freedom from Religion has to see how the council's new prayer policy is implemented before determining if plans to sue the city will continue.