Mayor Dupree says prayer breakfast will go on as planned

Published: Apr. 22, 2013 at 8:37 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 23, 2013 at 1:57 PM CDT
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A national atheist activist organization is trying to put a halt to Mayor Johnny Dupree's annual prayer breakfast.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has sent a letter to the mayor urging him to cancel the event. The organization claims the city is using city resources and tax dollars to promote the event and goes on to say in their letter that the breakfast poses serious constitutional concerns, is grossly illegal, and that it is inappropriate for the city to host, organize, support, or otherwise promote a patently religious event like the breakfast.

In a prepared statement, the Foundation wrote, "According to information on the city's website, tickets ($40 or $320 for a table) can only be purchased by sending payment to the city. The registration form asks for checks made payable to 'Mayor's Community Activity Fund.'"

The letter also states the breakfast sends a message that the city not only prefers religion over non-religion, but also Christianity over other religions.

Mayor Dupree claims that the breakfast is not city sponsored, illegal, or unconstitutional.

"Hattiesburg is a praying city," said Dupree. "We all understand what prayer does, how powerful prayer is. Personally, prayer has done so much for my family, and people that I love. So we'll continue to have the prayer breakfast."

The mayor also received a letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom in support of the prayer breakfast.

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