Hattiesburg mayor ignores claims of mixing church and state - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Hattiesburg mayor ignores accusations of mixing church and state, holds prayer breakfast

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The Hattiesburg Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast went on as planned on Thursday despite the protestations of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

More than 500 people from around the Pine Belt packed into the Lake Terrace Convention Center for the 12th Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast including local pastors who prayed for the nation, state, county, and city.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said he was never moved or worried about the Freedom From Religion Foundation. There was a police presence at the event.

"Christians have always been under attack," said DuPree.

The national atheist activist group recently made an open records request to determine if the City of Hattiesburg uses tax funds to support the upcoming Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. The matter has yet to be resolved.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims the city is sponsoring the event because tickets can only be purchased from the mayor's administrative assistant, and the breakfast is promoted on the city's website. The Foundation also sent a letter to Mayor Johnny Dupree telling him he must cease all sponsorship and organization of the breakfast by the city.

An attorney for the Foundation says they will decide what course of action to take once they have reviewed the records and determined the level of involvement by the city.

Dupree claims anyone involved in organizing the event is a volunteer and no city tax dollars are used to fund the breakfast.

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