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Myrtle Beach approves deity-free prayer for meetings

MYRTLE BEACH (AP) — Myrtle Beach City Council has approved a standard prayer with no mention of a specific deity to be offered at public meetings.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports the prayer approved Tuesday is designed to include people of all faiths.

The council previously has used clergy from all faiths to lead an opening prayer. City officials asked those participating to avoid calling on a specific deity associated with any specific faith.

City attorney Tom Ellenburg says some members of the clergy did not like being told how to pray.

But Ellenburg says a government cannot give preference to religious practices and allowing someone to call on a specific deity does that.

Some council members did not like the idea of adopting a standard invocation, but agreed they did not want to be sued.

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