Home Government Brick Council: No Prayer At Meetings, But Moment of Silence Will Remain

Brick Council: No Prayer At Meetings, But Moment of Silence Will Remain

Gavel (Credit: Brian Turner/Flickr)
Gavel (Credit: Brian Turner/Flickr)

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that prayer at public meetings would be permissible under certain circumstances, a number of citizens have requested Brick begin its township council meetings with a prayer.

The council, this week, declined, saying the customary moment of silence offered at the beginning of each council meeting will suffice.

“We are going to maintain a moment of silence so people can reflect as they wish,” said Council President Paul Mummolo.


At the end of 2014, then-council president Susan Lydecker said she would leave the decision up to her successor. Mummolo was supported in his decision by his fellow council members.

“Our moment of silence is for prayer or anything else our citizens want it to be for,” said Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero. “Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to impose on people what my beliefs, your beliefs, or anyone’s beliefs are.”

On certain occasions in Brick, such as the first council meeting of the year or the annual Sept. 11 memorial service, a prayer from a priest, minister or rabbi has been offered. But regular meetings of the township council have, for at least the past several years, begun with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the moment of silence. Oftentimes, the president of the township council will recognize a member of the community who has recently died or a special intention before the moment of silence begins.

Prayer at public meetings is allowed under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a controversial, 5-4 decision handed down in May 2014. The case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, resulted in prayers being permitted at public meetings as long as the prayer comports with the tradition of the state or national legislature, does not discriminate against minority faiths and does not coerce participation by non-adherents.

In Brick, John O’Rourke, a township resident, had asked council members to begin their meetings with a prayer following the court decision. O’Rourke said an examination of agendas from years past showed Brick’s meetings did, in fact, begin with a prayer from at least 1999 to 2004.

A retired mathematics teacher from St. Aloysius High School in Jersey City and Marist High School in Bayonne, O’Rourke said he is currently a parishioner of St. Dominic Church in town and feels strongly that a public prayer would be beneficial.

“The absence of prayer in the public square is deafening to me,” O’Rourke said at the Jan. 28 council meeting.

Nan Coll, another resident who frequents council meetings, said the decision should not be left up to one person, in this case, the council president.

“I do not believe that one person should put the kibosh on having the meetings start with prayer,” Coll said. “We are in very serious times right now. We need prayer.”

Other residents disagreed.

“Everyone who wants to say their own prayer has a right to do it” during the moment of silence, Richard Gross said.

  • TPfreedomfighter

    I NEVER EVER thought I would see the day where political correctness would hit Bricktown. I’m sure the next thing will be no Christmas decorations but instead will be “holiday” decorations. We will be no better than the the towns you see in the news fighting over trivial BS instead of REAL ISSUES that effect the citizens.

    Take a poll. See how many citizens don’t mind and STOP bending to the will of a few big mouths.

    I am HIGHLY disappointed.

    • #@#.com

      We already had a “Holiday Tree” lighting under Democrat convicted extortionist Mayor Joe Scarpelli. . Acropolis changed it back to “Christmas Tree” lighting.

  • Joseph Woolston Brick

    This should be interesting, a room full of politicians being quiet for a moment? Make sure to get that on tape, I wanna see it.

    • Radiance Sheppard

      Brick Township Council meetings have been recorded for quite some time. You can view a multitude of them from our website.

  • #@#.com

    I wonder if Mr. John O’Rourke would be satisfied if the council started the meeting with a Muslim prayer? Leave the prayers in Church. Start the meetings with a moment of silence for individual silent payers. Good call.

  • Andy Pat

    Despite the poor decision by the Supreme Court, church and state are best left separated. I believe this was a founding principle for this country. A Supreme Court that is comprised of 6 Roman Catholics and 3 of Jewish faith may rule on issues of religion that do not agree with many Americans. Of course issues of constitutionality are not, and should not be, up for vote. They are rightfully determined at the Supreme Court. I just disagree with their decision. I also disagree with their Hobby Lobby decision and their Citizens United decision. I agree with the Council President’s decision to leave it at a moment of silence in which people of different faiths can mentally recite whatever prayer they wish. And people of no faith can have a moment of silence to reflect on anything they wish. This, my friend, is Freedom!

  • Frank Rizzo

    The separation between Church and State is not the wiping away of any religion or traditions we have in this country as you demented liberals think it is.. The separation of Church and State is there to protect us from being forced to adopt a religion chosen for us by the government, or “An Official Religion” as we see in the Muslim world. I find it incredible that these demented liberals such as those in Duke University will allow a Muslim Call to Prayer be broadcasted on campus yet attack anyone saying “God Bless You ” to a sneeze.

    • DragonDad77


      • Frank Rizzo

        Explain yourself DragonDad…who is your anger for and why.

    • Andy Pat

      So if no ONE religion is “An Official Religion” exactly which prayer should be used at governmental meetings?? Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, or other?? As far as your claim that Duke University will allow a Muslim Call to Prayer be broadcasted on campus yet attack anyone saying “God Bless You ” to a sneeze is pure BS.

    • Trevor

      Someone needs to separate you from the key-board.

  • JJones

    Every religion has there own meaningful prayer just say it if your not of the Catholic or Jewish faith don’t just stop doing it ..The times are changing and freedom of speech is going away ..You can’t and never will please everyone ..

  • John Ghent

    There’s nothing in the Constitution that mentions the separation of Church and State. It just said: Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… That was a term coined by Thomas Jefferson and thank God he wasn’t around for the Constitutional Conventional…

  • Andy Pat

    For those who would like to hear a prayer before every governmental meeting I have a suggestion. Move to a country with a sectarian government as opposed to our own secular government. The Taliban, Iran and The Islamic State come to mind.

  • #@#.com

    The 1st amendment was to prevent the federal government from forcing a national religion on local people. Local villages, towns, peoples and States were free to choose their own religions. People could form a religious town. If you did not like the religion, then you could move to another town. That how it was written and followed for years until the political supreme court changed it.

  • Frank Rizzo

    Hey Andy Pat…Why do you demented liberals think Muslim Foot Baths in public owned buildings, paid for by tax money are allowed and good then. Where is your outrage, where is the separation. You all hate America and look to impose anything that goes against it on the rest of us.


    • #@#.com

      Dan Rather lies and reads forged documents about George Bush and has to resign from CBS news. Brian Williams NBC news lies for 11 years about being in a helicopter and getting shot down by a rocket in Iraq and the Democrats have the nerve to belittle FOX news. LOL LOL

      • Andy Pat

        So 1 lie by CBS and 1 by NBC= Thousands of lies by FOX. Must be conservative math!

      • John Ghent

        The original memos that Mary Maples the producer of the 60 Minutes story by Rather who obtained the copies that were in dispute, were burned according to the person who had them, Lt. Col. Bill Burkett of TANG. Why was that? If you think NJ is the Soprano state, Texas politics is worst! The Branch Davidians in Waco got burnt out of their compound for political reasons in my opinion. . .they weren’t wanted there any more and they refused to leave. Remember who was running the AT&F, none other than long time former Texas US Senator Lloyd Benson. As a result of that, Tim McViegh killed 168 men, woman, and children. Two sad days in American history…

      • John Ghent

        That’s not true and here’s the original video to prove it…http://patdollard.com/2015/02/watch-brian-williams-original-helicopter-report-from-2003/

      • #@#.com

        Brian Williams is a LIAR.

        Watch him LIE on Letterman

      • Frank Rizzo

        Andy…The press lies…You are such a partisan and dyed in the wool liberal there is no making sense to you. You will never say when the liberals are wrong because to you the only solution is the demise of America. You hate America and all it stood for.

      • Andy Pat

        Thank you for pointing out that The press lies, but right wing websites provide the truth. And yes, you make no sense to me. You say I hate America because my opinions differ from yours?? I think maybe You do not believe in All America stands for. Because in a Democratic America we believe in people freely expressing their opinions. You are the one who mocks, makes false claims, and denigrates all who disagree with you. In the marketplace of ideas and intellectual debate, you have come empty-handed.

      • John Ghent

        Hey he apologized. Kind of stupid not too with that original video out there. As the video audio indicates: they were taking fire and his pilot reported taking fire…

        CNN spoke to pilot Rich Krell, who gave a version of events very similar to Williams’ past claims that NBC’s crew was flying in the same group of aircraft as the helicopter that was struck by an RPG.

        Williams was in the back of Krell’s aircraft along with
        three other NBC staffers. Krell referred to his Chinook as the “second
        bird” in the formation. The “first bird,” right in front of the “second
        bird,” was struck by the RPG…

        All three of the helicopters were hit by small arms
        fire, Krell said, supporting Williams’ past claims about that…The
        three Chinooks took evasive maneuvers. Krell’s helicopter dropped off
        its payload, then met up with the other two about 45 minutes later. That may explain why the other crew members told Stars and Stripes that Williams arrived in the area later.

      • #@#.com

        Sorry, that CNN story by Krell was also false. CNN has updated and recanted.


      • #@#.com

        Williams is lying about other “situations” also.

        His name should be Brian Williams Clinton


        Hillary lied about getting shot at with sniper fire.

      • John Ghent

        Now that’s not true according to your own link. It’s undisputed based on the 2003 video where you over hear the pilot on the radio saying that they were taking fire and the copter he was on was returning fire with the M60s’. That’s what was said on that website…

        “Some of things he’s said are not true. But some of the things they’re
        saying against him are not true either,” Krell told CNN yesterday of the
        Stars and Stripes report, in defense of Williams. According to Krell,
        three helicopters were flying in close formation, not four, as Williams
        had said; one of the choppers broke down, Krell said. Williams was in
        the back of Krell’s aircraft along with three other NBC staffers, Krell
        said. He referred to his Chinook as the “second bird” in the formation.
        The “first bird,” right in front of the “second bird,” was struck by the

        …Those incoming bullets, he said “struck the belly up in the forward
        cabin area and one or two other side hits, but it didn’t cause any major
        damage, just some minor damage to electronic components.” Asked if
        Williams was aware that the helicopter he was riding in had been hit by
        small arms fire, Krell said: “The door gunners were returning fire. M60s
        (machine guns) are very loud…

    • Andy Pat

      I do not need links to you right wing propaganda sites. But feel free to fill up on that BS! An individual like yourself, who is so quick to act like a child and resort to name calling for everybody you disagree with, is hardly worth responding to. We see you for exactly what you are.

  • Dennis rockefeller

    I think it’s absurd please don’t follow with the rest of what the world is doing and worry about offending those people who don’t want to pray dear Lord please please let prayer happen at our council meetings because if you stopthere where is that going to lead us set the example for our young kids to grow up and know that prayer is good and part of our constitutional right and if the majority want to pray then go with majority rule and not the individual just saying

    • Brandy the Dog

      I agree prayers are good, but we can pray quietly to ourselves. It’s the parents responsibility to teach their children how to pray and set examples for them. No one is saying prayer is unconstitutional here. They are simply asking for a moment of quiet reflection so each person can pray in their own way.

    • Andy Pat

      I’m confused. Is it a constitutional right? Or is it something that could be simply decided by “majority rule”? It cannot be both.

  • 50yearsplusinbrick

    No one is being prevented from prayer. There is a moment of silence where you can personally pray to your God. I’m pretty sure your God will hear you.

    • Brandy the Dog

      I agree, I have no idea why anyone would object to a moment of silence, prayer or reflection. We do not all pray the same.

  • Andy Pat

    For those who believe in an All Powerful, All Knowing God of the universe I ask; If we silently say our prayers will HE not hear them??

    • JW P

      No he won’t. There is no god, and if there were, the last place you’d ever find him or her was at a political meeting in old podunk Bricktucky.