Hawaiian Senate Ends Daily Prayers

A unanimous voice vote spikes potential challenge over "decidedly Christian" invocations.

Hawaii's state Senate is the first state legislature in the United States to end the practice of daily invocations, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

The decision stems from a discussion that began late last summer, when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to the Senate. The ACLU passed on complaints it had received about the Senate having opened with "decidedly Christian" prayers, complete with "references to Jesus Christ."

"Prayers that invoke specific aspects of one religion or denomination risk an impermissible entanglement of church and state," wrote Daniel Gluck of ACLU Hawaii.

Earlier in 2010, Senate security had forcibly removed Mitch Kahle, the leader of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, after he verbally objected to the April 29th invocation. A District Court judge found Kahle not guilty of disorderly conduct.

In September, the Senate convened a three-person committee to examine the issue. The state ...

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