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Elected Officials Follow the Law? Not in Greenville.


Rose Glover swearing to continue doing whatever she wants.

by Lisa Wilbourne

Though not part of the agenda, much of city council’s very short meeting tonight (March 4) was spent talking about prayer. Eight residents, largely pastors from local churches, spoke during the public comments period about not being denied their right to practice religion and freedom of expression. (Why exactly they came to the conclusion that their own personal rights and freedoms were under attack is unclear.)

“I, for one, will not let 19 percent of the population tell me what to do.

So, Mr. Attorney, get your papers ready.”

Councilor Rose Glover

City Attorney Dave Holec told council that prayer by a legislative body is legal, but the prayer must be nonsectarian. That is, the prayer cannot be associated with any religion or denomination. So, no praying to Jesus.

In response, Councilor Rose Glover: “I, for one, will not let 19 percent [the percent of the non-religious population cited in a letter to the mayor from Freedom from Religion — the nonprofit that initiated this discussion after a Greenville resident informed them of the rampant prayers to Jesus] of the population tell me what to do. So, Mr. Attorney, get your papers ready.” (Thanks for deciding on such a good use of taxpayer money, Councilor.)

Mayor Allen Thomas’ response was less blunt, but the meaning is likely the same. He spoke grandly of being respectful and inclusive and, most importantly, “proud of who you are.” He also said city council has always done this, and so does congress and the state legislature. (Other people doing something is always a good enough reason, right?)

For the record, no individual is being denied the right to worship whomever they want in whatever fashion. The city councilors have merely been asked to act within the law — not too much to ask, surely. From the time a city council meeting begins until it ends, they are not private citizen Allen Thomas, private citizen Rose Glover, private citizen Calvin Mercer, etc.. They represent the whole of the city’s residents, not just the residents who look or speak or pray like them.

(See Prestidigitation for our previous editorial on the mayor’s social media response to the Freedom from Religion letter.)

As for the rest of the meeting, the consent agenda passed quickly and unanimously without discussion. Council respectfully heard two city boards, the Affordable Housing Committee and the Youth Council, give presentations.

The only other agenda item, a request of Mercer’s to consider disbanding the budget subcommittee put together in 2012, was withdrawn because the subcommittee was in effect for only 2012.

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Responses (6)

  1. John Collins says:

    What is the consent agenda?

    • Lisa Wilbourne says:

      Ah, good question. The consent agenda is a list of things that don’t normally require discussion and are just voted on as a bundle. Resolutions and routine things like accepting minutes are often items.

  2. Ashley Breedlove says:

    I’m not sure why people think removing denominational prayers and replacing them with nonsectarian invocations is an attack on religion. The practice is still there for anybody that wants to be a part of it, it’s just much less exclusive of members of religious/nonreligious minorities in the community. People sometimes astound me.

    It is, however, a great political move on Mayor Thomas’s part, though.

  3. Anthony Noel says:

    Great, great, great caption.

  4. Carol Collins says:

    The overriding issue is the current law: councilors need to obey the law. Then, if one also considers the Golden Rule (treat others with the respect with which you yourself wish to be treated), then I see no reason to trick a Muslim into praying “in Jesus’ name” nor to trick a Christian into praying “in Mohamad’s name”. Clearly we can pray without offending others or excluding them from the prayer.

  5. Ted Goodrich says:

    It’s amazing to me that even in today’s liberated and educated world people like Rose Glover with vanishingly small minds come to the fore in positions of influence. The “Grand Experiment” of government for and by the people that was initiated by our enlightened forefathers is being booted along the pathway of time by a bunch of goons that never got the message.

    A tip of the hat to FFRF! Expose these nit-wits for the risks and dangers they truly represent!
    Voters of Greenville rise up! Put this idiot in the ditch of irrelevancy where she deserves to stay hidden from the public.

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