New Jersey Civil Rights Litigation: ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Prayer at Meetings

09/25/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ—The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New Jersey filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a Jewish member of the Borough Council Thursday, September 16, 2010. The lawsuit claims recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of Borough Council meetings was a violation of the woman’s civil rights, calling it “an unconstitutional government endorsement of Christianity,” according to the

The ACLU also apparently filed a separate motion, which seeks to stop the prayer from being said prior to Borough Council meetings in the future.

Reports indicated that over a span of three years, 57-year-old old Sharon Brenner Cadalzo attended more than 45 council meetings and does not have any intention to stop doing so in the times to come.

However, according to Cadalzo, “I am distressed by the prayer practice… I consider it an endorsement of a particular religion and an improper attempt by government to prefer one religion over another. I also find it alienating and divisive because it sends the message that the borough prefers Christianity over other faiths and religions, including my own beliefs in Judaism.”

Additionally, Cadalzo alleges that during the first council meeting of each year for the last six years, a Catholic priest was called in by the municipal government to deliver an invocation and benediction.

The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court, contends the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer prior to each council meeting violates Article 1 of the state constitution, which states the following:

There shall be no establishment of one religious sect in preference to another; no religious or racial test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.

The case is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for New Jersey Civil Rights Lawyers.

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