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Atheists Protest At Rowlett City Hall

ROWLETT (CBSDFW.COM) - Dozens of Atheists stood in front of Rowlett City Hall Tuesday night to protest what they call discrimination. But the controversial group's message may not be getting through.

"It's falling on deaf ears," according to President of Metroplex Atheists Rowlett, Chad Aldridge.

The group requested to give an invocation at the beginning of a city council meeting, but the city rejected its offer. This reinforced the Atheist group's claim that only Christians are allowed to bless the meeting.

But city policy states the invocation should be given by members of a religious congregation with an established presence in the local community.

"But we are established here. We have an address, resident meeting, and an adopt-a-street for more than a year and a half now," Metroplex Atheist member Randy Word.

For most non-atheists, the group's message is confusing at best.

"I don't understand why they're trying to take prayer or belief out of a meeting," said Clifford Mollenhauer.

Metroplex Atheists said they would give a 'secular reflection,' which is a regular prayer that doesn't invoke any type of deity.

But in a predominately Christian crowd, the group's intentions weren't well-received.

"Our country is based on a Christian backbone," one man told CBS 11 News.

For now, Rowlett hasn't indicated it will change its position. The city released the following statement:

"We will continue to abide by this policy, which is intended to acknowledge and express the council's respect for the diversity of religious denominations and faiths."

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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