City councils want prayer to stay
By MARY ANN COSTELLO
Kane County Chronicle
The cities of St. Charles and Batavia
have long said a prayer before each city
'council meeting. Officials said Thursday
they would not like to see the practice dis-
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4
Wednesday to prohibit prayer at school
graduation ceremonies. Justice Anthony M.
Kennedy, who wrote the opinion for the
majority, said the ruling was limited to
public elementary and secondary schools.
However, other church-state cases are
pending before the Supreme Court, includ-
ing Illinois appeals involving religious
symbols on municipal seals in Rolling
Meadows and Zion.
A prayer has preceded St. Charles council
meetings for the 16 years Fred Norris has
been mayor, 2nd Ward Alderman Walter
Foulkes said Thursday. "I think it's a fine
idea," Foulkes said. "I imagine we'll con-
tinue to pray before the council meetings."
Foulkes, a Eucharistic minister at St.
John's Neumann Catholic Church, occa-
sionally says the prayer when no other
clergy are available.
"I think it's a shame," Foulkes said of the
ruling against prayer at school graduations.
"At one time that is what (graduation) was
Fourth Ward Alderman Jim Martin said
of the council prayer Thursday, "I'm very
pleased to be a part of it and I'd be sorely
disturbed if someone told me we can't be a
part of it."
Charles Beckman Jr., a deacon at Evan-
gelical Covenant Church of Batavia and 2nd
Ward alderman in that city, has said the
prayer before Batavia council meetings for
the past 12 years.
"I don't see anything wrong with it,"
Beckman said of the council prayer. "I know
it helps me keep my cool. After saying the
prayer I can't very well start screaming or
yelling about something."
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