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After 12 years, Irvine City Council brings back prayer

Irvine Councilman Larry Agran opposed the proposal to start council meetings with prayer.
After a dozen years without starting its meetings with prayer, the Irvine City Council will again invite religious leaders to say an invocation before plunging into government business.

After debating separation of church and state, the council agreed on a 3-2 vote to again begin meetings with a nondenominational messages.

Council members Beth Krom and Larry Agran, who had advocated ending the practice years before, voted against the prayers.

Agran said the move to bring back council invocations was “driven by lawyers and bureaucrats, not us policymakers.”

He said he has nothing against invocations but “I just don't want to be in the business of prescribing and directing people of faith.”

Mayor Steven Choi rekindled the idea of starting meetings with a prayer shortly after a new, more conservative majority was seated this month.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway referred to the ceremony as an “American tradition” and called on “people to be more tolerant.”


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Photo: Councilman Larry Agran, who opposed the proposal to start council meetings with prayer. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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