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  • Atheist Groups Attack Mayor For Praying To End Violence

    When a 6-year-old boy was fatally shot in California last week, the city’s mayor held a 12-hour prayer rally to unite the community and promote peace, but now that mayor is under attack.

    Atheist groups are attacking the mayor and demanding he stop. The American Humanist Association (AHA) sent a letter to Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva Friday condemning his 12-hour Nov. 16 prayer rally on city property where he ceremoniously gave God a key to the city. The group is also upset with the mayor for holding town meetings in church buildings, saying he violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

    “Mayors and other public officials cannot use the machinery of the state to push their religious agendas,” Monica Miller, senior counsel with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement. “Using the state to promote prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and alienates community members of minority faiths and of no faith.”

    The AHA says the plaque on the key reads, “GOD we dedicate the City of Stockton to you! Mayor Silva 2015.”

    The group is demanding the city provide a written statement promising to stop “excessive entanglement with religion.” Just four days after the rally a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot, more evidence of the troubling violence in the area.

    “I want a peaceful end of the year and I think that’s what we can accomplish here tonight,” Silva said at the rally.

    There is no word of the mayor’s response so far. The mayor could not be reached for comment.

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