Muskegon Community College to keep graduation prayer, with changes

Posted at 10:42 AM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 11:03:32-05

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan college will exclude specific religious references from prayers said during graduation ceremonies after a civil rights group complained.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports Muskegon Community College’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to offer an invocation “to the extent permitted by separation of church and state law.” The board acted in response to a complaint filed last month by the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists.

The complaint stemmed from a prayer said in May by the Rev. Ann Oakes, a college trustee. Her prayer included a reference to Jesus.

Board President Donald Crandall says the prayers should be brief, non-sectarian and “not entangle the college with religion.” Mitch Kahle of the association says his group won’t object to what he calls “a very civic invocation.”