Since the 1990s, local council members in Point Pleasant Beach have begun their meetings with the hit Christian prayer "The Lord's Prayer." And then along came local resident Sharon Cadalzo, who regularly attends council meetings and isn't a fan of "The Lord's Prayer" kicking things off. So she's gotten the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU to file a lawsuit to stop the tradition, which the ACLU says is forbidden by the Constitution.
"People of all faiths and beliefs should feel welcome at public meetings," says Cadalzo, who is Jewish. "It's a matter of fairness. No member of the community should feel that their beliefs exclude them from public life." And Jeanne LoCicero, ACLU-NJ Deputy Legal Director, says "The prayer recited at Point Pleasant Beach council meetings is one of the most extreme examples we have seen of an explicit preference for Christianity."
Local officials insist one has complained, even though Caldazo claims she has repeatedly complained. An attorney for Point Pleasant Beach says, "When this practice began, there was no intent to discriminate against any religion. The folks were doing what they knew." But while the lawsuit's pending in New Jersey Superior Court, the council members haven't got a prayer, and that's just fine by Caldalzo, who tells Fox 5, " 'Our father' is not my father. My father lives on Long Island."