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Planning commisioner wants prayer at meetings

Does voting on a zoning change require guidance from God? That’s the question the Merced city planning commission could soon tackle.

Commissioner Larry Shankland has asked the city attorney’s office to look into whether the commission could hold an invocation before its twice-monthly public meetings. Right now the commission recites the pledge of allegiance, then observes a moment of silence before its meetings. Shankland says that’s not enough for him.

“I think (an invocation) is very appropriate for some of the stuff we deal with,” said Shankland. “Personally I believe in Jesus and we should be able to have an invocation prior to the meeting.”