NJ Town Must Pay ACLU Legal Fees In Prayer Dispute

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP/CBSNewYork) — A Jersey shore community has been ordered to reimburse the American Civil Liberties Union for some legal fees stemming from lawsuits the group filed to end the town’s practice of allowing borough council members to say a prayer before meetings.

point pleasant beach city council NJ Town Must Pay ACLU Legal Fees In Prayer Dispute

Point Pleasant Beach City Council meeting (Photo/CBS 2)

But the $11,200 that Point Pleasant Beach will pay out is much less than the nearly $38,000 in fees sought by the group.

State Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso issued the ruling this week. It stems from litigation the ACLU filed on behalf of a Jewish resident who objected to the council’s practice of reading the Lord’s Prayer before meetings.

The first suit resulted in the council adopting a policy that allowed individual council members to give a nonsectarian invocation. But when some council members chose to make invocations with religious overtones, the ACLU sued again.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Fred

    No town has any business incorporating any type of prayer in any public meeting. There is not and cannon be any religious manifestation in any municipal function, PERIOD!

  • cygon

    these dam jews want christians to fight for them but they stab us bin the back every chance they get. and they get a pass all the time about their minorrah by saying that it is not a religious symbol, while a “tree” is considered a religious symbol.

  • Auburn Dale

    By choosing a Christian prayer as its Official Prayer, the town council has formally ESTABLISHED Christianity as the town’s Official Religion, and thus BANNED all other religions.

    If Point Pleasant Beach really doesn’t want me, I’ll just take my tourist dollars elsewhere.

  • testy11

    Why should there be prayers in any public setting, there are plenty of religious houses for prayer, go pray over there. Stop shoving your religion down my throat, because, someday I might become majority and shove my religion down your kids throats.

  • Mohamed

    U.S. taxpayers gives more money Israel than any other country….they must be more important than others….

    • David Goldstein

      We are more important than you all….accept it and stop whining.

  • tomejones

    i think you do what you want as a community until someone complains. when the jew complained they should have made a compromise by including a jewish prayer. leave the freakin aclu out of it. there will be huge battles when muslims gain more authority in our communities and they try to insert their fundamentalism into our country. hopefully we wont roll over.

  • luscious jasmine

    But which religion is the correct one?!? If we pick the wrong one, we will spend eternity in hell. Is there any way to practice all at the same time?

    I’m scared – I don’t want to be smoten by an angry and vengeful God. I’ve read the Bible and it really seems that it doesn’t take much to make God mad. Even Jesus seemed to lose his cool every other verse – every time his followers asked a simple question, he would yell at them that they should know the answer. And here I thought asking questions is the right thing to do.

    HELP – what do we do – it’s all so confusing ?!?!?!

    • testy11

      Live like there is no God, because, most likely there is’nt one.

  • Spike

    IIts funny, if a Muslim or Hindu were to start leading their prayers at the beginning of court you would hear the Becks and Ditto heads crying at the top of their voices. Its WHY there is a separation of State and Church. So that our government can be ran without anyones mythology upsetting anyone else.

  • jerseyjoey

    Isreal is Gods America is mine, BLAH BLAH BLAH WFC.

  • ezflyer13

    It seems that suddenly, you have to watch what you say, watch what you do and so on in this country, be politically correct or you risk offending someone. Years ago many of these issues were not a bother, were not a problem. People must be bored and have too much time on their hands where they watch what everyone says and does. It seems that as the years go by, people tend to become less intelligent and just complain about everything in their lives because of their unhappiness. I hate walking on eggshells hoping that no one will complain. Amazing what this society is coming to, pray for our future. So sad…that this is what becomes of humanity.

    • job

      I believe you are complaining.

  • smokersodysseycom

    Doesn’t the congress start its session with a prayer; isn’t the president sworn in with the bile as are many other gov officials? The ACLU is indeed the devils instrument here on earth.

    • job

      Or organized religions are.

    • marc

      You are 100% right, members of our government are sworn into office with the bile. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • J

        Which they really shouldn’t be.

  • Jerry

    @Kellies Mom, where do you see the tolerance in forcing people who believe differently than you to listen to invocations focused totally on YOUR beliefs. Thats right, your in America. Freedom for ALL, not just you and yours.
    @tessie..nothing is being eroded away but christians ability to lord it over everyone and shove their views down EVERYONES throat in the public square. Nobody is keeping you from believing what you want to, we expect the same respect. Unless you can prove that your god is the one and true god out of the 3000+ gods humanity has invented (godcheckerdotcom), then politely keep it to yourself. Have a nice day.☺

    • marc

      Three cheers for Jerry!

  • Bill

    Separation of Church and State. Read the constitution folks.

    • Frank

      Where in the Constitution does it say a prayer can’t be said in a government setting? Not the first amendment which so many people refer to.

      • Jerry

        Seperation of Church and State does not explicitly mention prayer, but we expect you to use your brain. Honestly, we don’t have time to pray to all 3000+ gods with all the other things that need our governments attention. Why can’t you pray at home, in your car, on the street corner? Oh…thats right…you can. So you can pray everywhere else but in a government setting and you guys demand even that?? Please, please take a look at yourself.

  • tessie

    This really sux. Slowly, our Religous freedoms are eroding away because we have to be “politically correct” to people with tunnel vision and no tolerance for any view that is not their own.

    • sillypeople

      Why not just stop the prayers? If you want ‘religious freedom’, say your prayers in the bathroom before the meetings.

      • marc

        It’s only okay to say prayers until the primary prayer being said is not to a belief system that is yours. That it becomes an outrage. So just avoid the issue and keep it out of politics. People with different beliefs or no belief want an equal footing. If you don’t like it, move to a Christian country. And if you say, “But the USA is a Christian country,” that, aha!, you’re true motives and beliefs have just been revealed. Have a great day.

    • Religious freedom supporter

      Why do OTHER people have to tolerate YOUR religious freedom, but not vice cersa?

  • The BIG D

    Funny how some “understanding” liberal jew reported my comment. All I can say is that most of the world hates you for a reason. Thanks for giving all of them another reason.

    • BW42

      “Funny how some “understanding” liberal jew reported my comment.”

      I think I know why.

  • Kellies Mom

    Where is tolerance? This is unreal! I don’t know what is happening to my country anymore. Is tolerance only demanded from the Christian? I don’t see any tolerance shown by others. I am in America, right?

    • Spike

      Uh… I don’t think anyone expects tolerance from Christians. Mostly just vile hatred that they hide behind their bible for excuse.
      Learn your history. Learn who the original Americans were and who the fiirst immigrants were. My family has been here since the 1600s and I know that I am still as much as an immigrant as anyone else.

      • Kellies Mom

        I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t have vile hatred for anyone.

      • Jerry

        Turn the question around, David. How is it tolerant to allow the prayers of only one religion. And how does this affect people who don’t share your beliefs? Do you even care?
        I am not going to do your research for you, but if you google the establishment clause, you will find that the Supreme Court has already ruled on this.
        Their interpretation in Everson v. Board of Education (1947) includes, among other things… ‘No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions..’ Since our government is supported by all of our taxes, that means our government cannot support yours or any other religion, inclucing prayers before government functions.
        Also of note in that ruling is the following: ‘Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa.’
        Tell me how prayer before government functions does not openly participate in the affairs of religious organizations.

      • David

        How is it tolerant to disallow a prayer? How is it establishing religion? No law was passed. How is this not “nor preventing the free exercise thereof”?

    • kellies dad

      yes, I recall a 300 year period of christian tolerance known as the Inquistion. nuff said

      • melody

        Don’t forget the crusades either … I’m sure the Muslims don’t.

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