Roswell City Council prayer revisited

You may recall that several months ago I spoke before the Roswell (Georgia) City Council, urging them to reject a proposal to begin Council meetings with prayer.  This proposal was floated by Councilwoman Betty Price, who happens to be the wife of Tom Price, the Republican congressman who represents Roswell in the US House of Representatives.  I had never heard of Betty Price (or if I had, I hadn’t made the connection between her and my congressman).  In any case, I bore no particular grudge against Mrs. Price: I would have opposed the prayer proposal regardless of who had introduced it.

Fast forward to December 2010.  A reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called me up, saying he was working on a profile of Betty Price and had come across the fact that I’d spoken to the Roswell City Council.  Ninety percent of our conversation was about my desire to keep church and state separate, and to see to it that my city government stuck to running the business of the city, etc. etc. I even went out of my way to say that, while I did not know Betty Price’s exact reasons for making this suggestion, from my experience it’s usually just a politician pandering to a conservative Christian voting bloc.

Today the article appeared in the Metro section of the AJC under the title “Politics the chosen path for both Prices.”  (So far this piece is not online at ajc.com but if it does get posted I’ll add the link.)  Under a big color photo of Mrs. Price is the caption that includes the statement “She was elected in 2009 and is a strong advocate of prayer.”

The main thrust of the article is that the Prices have become something of a conservative power couple.  Among other things mentioned is her suggestion that “council meetings start with a prayer.”  The article continues with:

Her advocacy of prayer before meetings raised her profile.  John Snider, a Roswell resident with a blog called amercian-freethought.com, denounced Price’s idea.

“I didn’t know she existed before that came out,” Snider said.

Yes, that’s the URL of this blog butchered.  And the statement attributed to me is not so much a misquote as an artless paraphrasing.  Disappointingly, there’s no mention of WHY I “denounced” her idea.  But it’s good to know that coming to my attention amounts to “raising her profile.”

As my close personal friend Ed Buckner (former president of American Atheists) said, “I learned a very long time ago that the press is a law unto itself, rarely all that interested in accuracy, etc. But there’s [almost] no such thing as bad publicity. And if you can manage to get them to print a correction on the website, that’s more p.r., of course.”  So true, Ed.

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