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Last Tuesday. the City Council of Lancaster, California won their court battle over their right to have prayers before City Council meetings. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the prayers were constitutional because the city had invited people of all faiths to lead them. Mayor R. Rex Parris is quoted by the LA Times as saying “the invocations have come from Muslims, Sikhs and Wiccans as well as from Christians.” I looked through the past council agendas from 2009 to 2013 and all of the invocations I found came from Christian based religions, except May 22, 2012 which was from the Baha’is faith.
I don’t know where Parris is getting his facts. Does he mean that his citizens are more tolerant of different faiths because of the council’s invocations — like Lutherans verses Baptists? Wiccan? Really? I seriously doubt that and I challenge Parris to show me the evidence. And I did not see any reference to an Imam from any Mosque praying to Allah during any council meeting either. If one did, you can bet the Christian Right would scream about that!
I called the Lancaster City Clerk’s office to see if there was a list of names of churches and pastors who gave invocations in past council meetings — but, alas, I had to check each date on their main website page separately to find that information. The woman by the name of Linda who gave me that information added that there are invocations given at commission meetings as well. That’s interesting. I searched those records but the space where invocations are listed were blank except one and guess what — it was Christian-based.
I attended a couple Santa Ana City Council meetings in 2011 and they also have prayer before starting their meetings. I remember feeling pretty annoyed — no — pissed off — about it. I had never attended a city council meeting before the one in Santa Ana, so the first time I witnessed it, I was shocked … then annoyed … then pissed off. What’s all this talk about separation of church and state? Are these people serious that they need guidance from a higher power, preferably Jesus in order to do their business? They pretend they are all religious but when it comes to action … not so much. I mean really — the Santa Ana City Council has the nerve to go through the motions of praying for guidance when right across the street are homeless people who are denied help and ticketed if they dare fall asleep on public property! Who do they think Jesus was talking about when he preached about taking care of the poor? Was it the poor in some other country and not the ones in their own backyard?
Now let me get back to this Lancaster ruling. In my opinion the courts must think we live in aTheocracy. I am willing to bet that none of the three judges who made this ruling bothered to check out the council’s past agendas or they would have seen that 99.9% of the invocations are Christian based. It was two women that decided to file a lawsuit suit, after attending a council meeting in 2010 that said a Christian prayer. They hired Roger Jon Diamond, known for representing strip clubs in 1st Amendment cases, as their attorney. If it were me, I probably would not have made Diamond [ed. note: no relation] my first choice for this kind of case unless he accepted lap dances as payment for his services.
This mixing church and state is really too much for me. And what’s up with this swearing on the Bible before testifying thing? Does anyone really believe that doing so will prevent someone from lying under oath because that person thinks they will hear about that infraction when they reach the Pearly Gates someday? If someone decides to tell the truth in court they will do so if they swear on a Bible or the phone book. If they lie it’s because they are trying to save their own ass or they are a politician.
I am all for removing In God We Trust from our money. I mean who are we kidding? We worship money! Let’s remove the word God from the Pledge of Allegiance. One Nation under God…really? Which God? The one who allows someone to enter His Kingdom only if he has his ticket stamped by His Only Begotten Son? Is he the same one who looks the other way when our devout Christian president gives the ok to drop bombs on anyone considered to be an enemy of the State?
I am all for freedom of religion, but keep that religion … no matter what it is … out of my government.