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Council receives religious freedom award

Staff Writer | December 22, 2022 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — The Coeur d'Alene City Council received the Defense of Religious Freedom Award on Tuesday.

"Recognizing the diverse community in which we live, you have shown you value the contributions of all," said John Pulsipher with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "When faced with pressure and precedent, you made the right decision."

The council voted earlier this year to open the invocation to all faiths and discontinue the longtime practice of having just Christian pastors lead the prayer.

Tyler Morton with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the prayer to begin Tuesday's council meeting in the Library Community Room.

"We're grateful for the freedoms we enjoy. We're grateful for this wonderful city," he said.

"We pray specifically for those who serve our community. We're grateful for them and their dedicated service," Morton said.

Mayor Jim Hammond asked for prayers for police, fire and those clearing the city streets during this time of freezing temperatures and snow.

"Right now with all the snow it makes it tougher for all of them," he said.

Pulsipher said that, according to the U.S. State Department, 74% of the world’s population lives in countries with "serious restrictions" on religious freedom.

But not the city of Coeur d'Alene.

"From the downright dirty, to the mundane, to the crucial city services, and even to the divine, you have been confronted with challenges requiring your careful attention and deliberate decisions," he said.

The award was presented on behalf of Interfaith CDA, Bahai CDA, Community United Methodist Church, Svrasti Abbey and the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.