Mayor Upset Over Ceremonial Prayer Controversy - FOX 13 News

Mayor Upset Over Ceremonial Prayer Controversy

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Carteret, New Jersey (My9NJ) - A dispute over a prayer at a citizenship ceremony in Carteret, New Jersey has turned into a national controversy. The Mayor of Carteret, Daniel Rieman, was going to host a ceremony in Carteret for 30 new citizens last Saturday until he disagreed with the Federal Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency who told him he couldn’t include a prayer and a moment of silence before the ceremony.

“In the oath for new citizens it acknowledges God and, of course, the Pledge of Allegiance ‘one nation under God’ so it seemed contradictory that immigration and naturalization would say, okay you have to acknowledge God as part of the oath and certainly as part of the pledge, but you can’t have a prayer acknowledging God,” he explained.

In a statement to the Associated Press, a spokeswoman for the Federal Immigration Department said: “The agency has a long standing policy to ensure that naturalization ceremonies are conducted in a meaningful manner which is welcoming and inclusive and excludes political, commercial and religious statements."

Mayor Rieman says all town services in Carteret, whether it is ceremonies for Veterans Day, Memorial Day or otherwise, include a non-denominational prayer from a religious leader in the diverse community. He says various members of the clergy in town including Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and Christians are invited to lead the prayer at these ceremonies and agnostics and atheists don’t have to take part if they don’t want to.

The ceremony ended up taking place in Newark over the weekend instead of Carteret.


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