It's true that staff of the county Support Services Agency handles telephone calls but the work is done in non-county working hours and the county is repaid by the Prayer Breakfast Committee, said agency director Virgil Moon.
For hair- splitters, that's a problem. But there is bigger game for the little Freethought group, which boasts 120 paying members. The protesters have really dropped the ball on protesting high government officials for blatantly sponsoring a religious service with all expenses paid by taxpayers.
The president of the United States, Barack Obama, hosted an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House on Tuesday - for the second year in a row. According to news reports, the East Room was filled with Obama administration officials and clergy from across the country.
It was a religious service. The president talked about the crucifixion of Christ and his taking on the sins of the world - "and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection." The president quoted from Isaiah: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Then the president said: "This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this 'Amazing Grace,' calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I've not shown grace to others, those times that I've fallen short."
Not only did the president endorse and support and even preach a little in the prayer service, but all costs including any printing (no fliers that we know of), the meal and any other expenses were paid by the White House, that is, the government and more particularly the taxpayers of the United States.
The Atlanta Freethought folks should not stop with the White House prayer service. They need to get their protesting geared up to take on the U. S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, each of which engages in blatant religious activities. Before every legislative session there is a prayer offered by an official chaplain, a distinctly religious activity.
On that point, in the House on Monday, Chaplain Daniel Coughlin offered a prayer that began with these words: "You are God: we praise You; You are the Lord; we acclaim You; You are the eternal Father: All creation worships You."
Finally, closer home, the Georgia House and Senate each has a chaplain every legislative day to exhort the members of those august bodies. So there are far more important government-sponsored preaching and praying the Freethoughters can protest instead of picking on the Cobb Prayer Breakfast.
Better yet, forget the protest.