Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Seminole County group is petitioning to return prayer to Longwood city meetings

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 1:56 PM

  • Screen grab via
Following a vote that cut the opening prayer at Longwood city commission meetings earlier this month, a grassroots group in Seminole County has begun to gather petitions requesting that the decision be reversed.

Seminole First, a political committee formed by GOP State Committeeman Jesse Phillips, is behind the push to reinstate prayer in the meetings.

“The First Amendment guarantees the right to public religious expression, a cherished right upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014, which ruled invocations in local government council meetings were protected speech under the First Amendment,” Phillips told the Orlando Political Observer. “We are asking the Longwood commission to reverse its ban on opening prayers and to respect our First Amendment rights.”

Phillips is referring to the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 ruling, in May 2014, that legislative bodies — specifically, city councils — can begin their meetings with prayer, even if it distinctly favors one person’s faith in the message.

“Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court’s conservative majority.

It was the latest example of how our nation’s highest judicial body has become increasingly lenient on how government may interact with religion in the civic atmosphere.

The next Longwood city commission meeting takes place on Monday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation