New prayer guidelines for Bishop City Council

bcc3_11The issue of a prayer before the Bishop City Council came up again Monday night. Based on a new court decision, the City Attorney Peter Tracy offered a new set of invocation guidelines. The Council did approve them.

Earlier the Council had adopted prayer guidelines that discouraged the mention of any particular deity. The policy had come about after a Hindu man from out of the area had requested to deliver the invocation in Bishop. His request triggered legal concerns. A number of Bishop pastors objected to the policy which they felt prohibited them from referring to “Jesus Christ.”

Since the original policy, a major court decision filed in Lancaster, CA was issued by the Court. That decision allowed greater freedom for pastors prayers. The new guidelines describe a process of allowing local religious leaders to take turns delivering prayers. The policy also says that neither the City Council nor City Clerk “shall engage in any prior inquiry, review of, or involvement in, the content of any prayer to be offered by an invocational speaker.

The policy also says it is not intended to affiliate the City Council with any faith or religious denomination but will encourage respect for the diversity of religious groups and faiths in Bishop.

Councilman Keith Glidewell, who has suggested that perhaps there should not be a prayer before the meeting, asked that the issue come back to a future agenda for discussion.

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Mike Philip
Mike Philip
9 years ago

There are those who feel very strongly about opening a public meeting with a prayer. In the interest of “picking my fight”, I think I’ll choose not to fight this one. As long as anyone, no matter what religion, is allowed to open the meeting with their prayer, and are… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Tourbillion, Don’t we agree with each other? Please read my post again focusing on the first sentence, especially the words “forced, denied, initiated or discouraged”. Now please read amendment 1 which says; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Prayer is an individual choice, not to be forced, denied, initiated or discouraged by government? That is what Constitutional freedom of religion means to me. United States Constitution Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free… Read more »

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim, reread the First Amendment you posted. It does not say government should blind itself to religion. It does not say religion must be expunged from the public square. It simply says Congress shall make no law that establishes a state religion, as is the case with the Church of… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

Thank you, Tourbillon.
BK

Different times and physics
Different times and physics
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

The Founders you speak of and the era those Founders were a part of, is vastly different then the way it is today.
Time simply does not move that way.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

This is true. But until the existing constitution is rewritten, that constitution remains literally the law of the land. That constitution gives you the right to criticize it as much and as loudly as you want, but you still are bound by what it says.

Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Words were designed to confuse people. The more words the more interpretations, the more the disagreement as to the meaning. Words change through history. Take the word liberal. The live-and-let-live original meaning has today morphed into one who espouses socialism by some of our angrier and frightened. We are living… Read more »

justwanttoseehisface
justwanttoseehisface
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

@ Tourbillon – Assuming there is such a thing as a “legal public prayer” (at term that itself is troubling and, ironically, demonstrates the problem), is it a good idea? I think in pluralistic and diverse America, it is not; it is divisive and non-productive. I think the Pledge of… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
9 years ago

It seems to me that the easiest answer to this is to not have ANY prayer prior to a taxpayer funded, government sponsored, and held meeting. Problem solved.

familygal
familygal
9 years ago

Taxpayers pray too, people that work in government pray too. You cannot take God out of all people and places….I know that is the current trend…but it will never happen. There will always be people praying out loud in public/government places! Just as there will always be people opposed to… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  familygal

The diversity of our nation is truly great and the freedom to pursue it. At the same time, nothing stops any individual from addressing God, universal mind, the creator of all in his or her heart nor from living the highest principles in daily life. That in itself is a… Read more »

Public v Private
Public v Private
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

The case in point is whether or not proselytizing belongs in any public meeting place.
This can only lead to more division and hard feelings.

justwanttoseehisface
justwanttoseehisface
9 years ago
Reply to  familygal

@Family gal-

You didn’t answer my question (not that you have to); so I ask again:

Of what concern are your personal religious beliefs and practices to the public?

Thanks.

John P. Gross
John P. Gross
9 years ago

I understand and strongly agree with all that is said about separation of Church and State, But if it is going to be totally separate than keep the government out of my church provided insurance program which doesn’t pay for abortions which we believe is wrong in the eyes of… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  John P. Gross

If your church didn’t operate a for profit business such as a school or hospital there would be nothing the government could say. However, some religions engage in commercial enterprises but expect to be treated, or their employees treated differently, than other commercial enterprises in the same industries. The simple… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

Chuches (selling God) is a big business. Non profit? more like all profit.

familygal
familygal
9 years ago
Reply to  John P. Gross

Well said John P. – enough with people trying to have it both ways when it comes to all things government…..”my way is the right way (liberal) b/c I don’t agree with you (conservative)”. Where is the world did that mindset come from anyway!? It’s a free country….if taxpaying religious… Read more »

justwanttoseehisface
justwanttoseehisface
9 years ago
Reply to  familygal

@ Family gal –

I respect your passionate advocacy.

But I don’t think you can disagree that a public meeting is for the purpose of conducting the public’s business.

If that’s the case, why are your (or anyone’s) personal religious views and practices a matter of public concern?

Thanks.

Frank
Frank
9 years ago
Reply to  John P. Gross

It’s a deal. No praying or mention of religion at government meetings, and your church does not have to provide abortions.

justwanttoseehisface
justwanttoseehisface
9 years ago

@ Frank –

Very well said. I think that one should (generally) only pee in the bathroom, make love in the bedroom, and pray – out loud anyway – in church. It’s really pretty simple. Thanks.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

I don’t understand this burning urge to pray in public and to have everyone else pray with you. There are some truly insecure people in this world. I don’t see municipal government having any obligation to cater to these insecurities.

Frank
Frank
9 years ago

Another perfectly fair and balanced way to assure that no single religion gets preferential treatment is. . . no religion in government at all. Zero. Nada. If you must pray, do it on your own time, not the taxpayers’ time.

Joe
Joe
9 years ago
Reply to  Frank

Amen, Frank! Well said.