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South Carolina council drops prayer, adds silence.

A South Carolina county council has decided to dump its practice of opening its public meetings with sectarian prayers.

In early February, the Oconee County Council voted 4-1 to begin its sessions with a moment of silence and discontinue its longtime practice of offering prayers in Jesus' name, The Greenville News reported.

The action came after the American Civil Liberties Union American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution.  and Americans United for Separation of Church and State Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Americans United or AU for short) is a religious freedom advocacy group in the United States which promotes the separation of church and state, a legal doctrine seen by the AU as being enshrined in the Establishment  complained about the prayer practice. A powerful Religious Right organization, the Alliance Defense Fund The Alliance Defense Fund ("ADF") is a conservative Christian non-profit organization with the stated goal of "defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.  (ADF (1) (Application Development Facility) An IBM programmer-oriented mainframe application generator that runs under IMS.

(2) (Automatic Document Feeder) A paper stacker that feeds one sheet of paper at a time into the unit.
), also got involved in the conflict, urging the council to adopt a policy allowing ministers to pray before the meetings.

On Feb. 6, the date of the vote, the council meeting was opened with a local Baptist minister giving a prayer in Jesus' name. Following his invocation, the Greenville newspaper reported, Roger Rollin, an Americans United member, stood and gave a secular invocation.

The council then went into a closed-door session to discuss the situation. The decision to spurn ADF's policy and opt for a moment of silence did not set well with some in attendance.

"I pray for what has been unleashed on this county today," Marly marl  
A crumbly mixture of clays, calcium and magnesium carbonates, and remnants of shells that is sometimes found under desert sands and used as fertilizer for lime-deficient soils.

 Ellenburg said during a public comment period. "I pray for God's mercy."
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Title Annotation:AU BULLETIN
Publication:Church & State
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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