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AZ Officials Stand for Prayer in Phoenix Council and State House

03-04-2016

The Phoenix City Council voted to restore spoken prayers before meetings.

The decision comes after two residents submitted petitions asking the council to bring it back.

Last month, the council ended the practice after a Satanist group was scheduled to offer prayer.

Meanwhile, the Arizona House has also made clear its guidelines for prayer after an atheist legislator offered up a prayer before a meeting.

The opening prayer by Democrat Rep. Juan Mendez included a call to work to help the state and its residents flourish and to "honor the Constitution and the secular equality it brings."

But House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro ruled the decision to not pray to God did not meet House rules.

A Baptist minister was then invited to pray and give thanks to God shortly after the atheist attempt.

Mendez' statement had infuriated some of the Republican lawmakers who are Christians.

Republican Rep. Warren Peterson said prayers have been part of legislative meetings "since the founding of this great country."

"You know what it looks like, you know what it is, it has a long-standing tradition," Peterson said. "We also know what it looks like when somebody is desecrating and mocking someone else's beliefs."

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