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FULLERTON : Community Services Rescinds Prayer Policy

A policy enacted two months ago to allow prayers during public meetings of the Community Services Commission has been rescinded after some residents questioned whether it violated the constitutional tenet of separation of church and state.

“We all have religious beliefs, and there is a time and place for the exercise of those beliefs,” resident Marc J. Lebovitz wrote to the commission in a letter urging it to end the practice. “The time and place, however, is not in a public forum, let alone a Community Services public hearing.”

The invocations, which opened the agency’s last two meetings, were led by commissioners John Neal and Chris Hoover.

Commissioners voted 5 to 2 to rescind the prayer policy after several residents and Commissioner Benjamin H. Berkley, who was not present for the first vote, argued against the policy.

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Neal said Wednesday that the commission’s original intent had been to follow the practice of the City Council, which opens its sessions with a flag salute and invocation.


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