- Associated Press - Thursday, September 25, 2014

OCALA, Fla. (AP) - Atheists are objecting to a north Florida town’s sponsoring of a prayer vigil after a recent spate of drive-by shootings, saying it violates separation of church and state.

The complaints from Frances Porgal, organizer of local atheist groups, came after the Ocala Police Department’s Facebook page posted a letter urging citizens to attend.

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn told The Ocala Star-Banner (https://bit.ly/1ro3KtD) that officials have a First Amendment right to gather and pray.

The Washington DC-based American Humanist Association’s legal director David Noise objected to the government’s endorsement of a religious event. The group focuses on church-state legal issues.

Ocala City Attorney Patrick Gilligan disputes that, saying the vigil is open to all and that officials have the right to speak at churches.


Information from: Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner, https://www.starbanner.com/

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