Religion

City May Bring Back Prayer To 'Keep The Devil Out'

| by Michael Allen

The city council of Wilmington, Delaware is considering bringing back prayer for meetings because of some members' personal beliefs that prayer can keep the devil away.

City residents attended a meeting on Feb. 13 at the Police Athletic League of Wilmington, where some recalled how prayer changed their lives, notes Delaware Online.

Council member Samuel L. Guy said he plans to introduce a resolution on Feb. 16 to bring prayer back to the meetings "because that helps keep the devil out."

Guy said that five other council members are going to co-sponsor his resolution, which would replace the silent reflection that the council voted for in January.

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City Council President Hanifa Shabazz said in January that replacing the prayer with a silent reflection allowed people of different faiths to express themselves while respecting the separation of church and state.

Shabazz, who is Muslim, described the silent reflection: "If people want to pray, they can. If they want to take a deep breath, they can."

According to the city clerk, the prayer says: "Our heavenly Father, as we gather together to make laws affecting the citizens of Wilmington, we ask your guidance so that our intentions and actions are in accordance with thy will and according to your word! Amen."

Council member Bob Williams said that he understands Shabazz's position, but insisted that the prayer was not for any specific religion.

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"It's not indicative of any one religion," Williams stated. "We’re just asking that a higher power look down on [the] council and allow us to make the proper decisions."

Councilwoman At-Large Loretta Walsh supported replacing the prayer in January with the silent reflection.

"By having a moment of reflection, since we have most religion groups represented on this floor, it gives us a chance to say our own private prayer," Walsh said.

Democratic state Rep. Charles Potter Jr. told the meeting: "Prayer has brought me a long way. We've got to fight for the right thing. God is good, all the time, on to victory."

Potter plans to introduce a bill for state-sponsored prayer in public schools.

He told radio station WDEL: "I'm going to be working with the preachers and other people. I believe when we took prayer out of school it changed a lot -- look at our schools now -- it has a lot to do with prayer and getting them direction, something to believe in."

Bishop Aretha Morton closed the Feb. 13 meeting with a Christian prayer, notes Delaware Online: "We won't let nothing separate us from your love. We're asking that our voices be heard and let the next meeting in City Council be led with prayer. In Jesus' name... we pray. Amen."

Sources: Delaware Online, WDEL via WXDE / Photo Credit: City Of Wilmington Delaware

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