Pennsylvania Mayor’s Staff Prayers Stir Controversy

Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor Linda Thompson’s practice of leading her employees in prayer has come under fire.

Thompson opens staff meetings with a prayer session, and despite receiving a letter from the Pennsylvania ACLU advising her to stop the practice, she said she has no plan to do so.

“Prior to opening the meeting, I make it very clear to all attending…that it was voluntary and they are permitted to leave the room and return after the prayer session was concluded,” she told The Patriot-News. “Not one of the employees left; nor did anyone complain to me or management.”

The ACLU, however, apparently sent the letter after receiving a complaint from an unidentified city employee.

“Government isn’t supposed to be promoting religion at all,” Americans United staffer Rob Boston told the newspaper. “[S]he has to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone shares [her faith] and that some individuals may feel uncomfortable if they feel that faith is being imposed on them…whether that’s intended or not.”