Atheist legislator lambasted for comments during House prayer time

Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe
Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services/Arizona Capitol Times

A top House leader slapped down a Democratic lawmaker today for using the time set aside for prayer to instead give thanks for diverse beliefs — including the belief there is no higher power.

Majority Leader Steve Montenegro declared that Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, had violated House rules that require that each day’s session begin with a “prayer.” That’s because Mendez, an atheist, used the time to talk about the “pluralistic society.”

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