U.S. Supreme Court Decision Affects Danville

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 5/06 5:08 pm
Danville's mayor says the Supreme Court decision affirms what they've always been doing: beginning council meetings with a prayer.

Not everybody in Danville likes it.

"A government beginning an official meeting with a prayer that privileges one religion is difficult and a troubling aspect in American culture," said a Danville man.

Sometimes the mayor leads the prayer, and recites what he calls a historical prayer.

"I have shortchanged my founding fathers slightly by perhaps leaving off, or leaving out one word of the actual historical prayer," said Mayor Bernie Hunstad.

That word is Jesus. 

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided council meetings like Danville's can begin with a prayer, even if it is a Christian prayer. 

So, the mayor looks forward to reciting Jesus' name at the start of upcoming Board of Commissioners meetings.

"I think it's more genuine, and it pays the respect to both the founding fathers that they deserve and also to our creator," said Hunstad.

The Supreme Court ruled a prayer cannot put down non-Christians, or try to convert people.

In the majority opinion Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the inclusion of a brief prayer is meant to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent.  Kennedy wrote such prayers are not meant to exclude, or coerce non-Christians.

Five people previously complained in Danville about the prayer.  The Mayor says he doesn't believe anybody really feels overrun with Christian beliefs.
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