The Akron, Ohio, City Council has dropped its use of the Lord’s Prayer before its public meetings.
On Oct. 15, council members unanimously agreed to stop using the Christian prayer to open their sessions. The decision was prompted by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which sent a letter in September warning that sectarian prayer at government meetings runs afoul of the First Amendment.
After voting to discontinue the Lord’s Prayer, Council President Marco Sommerville told the Akron Beacon Journal that the council did not want to subject the city to litigation.
“There was no sense in putting the city in harm’s way,” he said.
Americans United’s letter warned of a potential legal challenge if the council did not stop using sectarian prayer at its meetings.
AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn praised the council for doing “the right thing.”
“The people who want to pray are going to do so before they go into the council chambers, and that’s fine,” he said.