From Channel 23 (ABC) in California:
It starts well, but goes downhill, as usual:
For the last few months, the Tehachapi City Council meeting has started off with an invocation prayer, but a letter sent last week from the Freedom From Religion Foundation has Tehachapi residents debating the constitutionality of saying the prayer.
Tuesday night’s council meeting started with the standard Pledge of Allegiance, but unlike meetings over the last six months, no prayer.
There’s still that pesky “under God” in the pledge.
While the council discussed the letter in closed session, the public spoke out in favor of the prayers during public comment.Only one person spoke out against the prayer, but said it would be OK if the prayer was more inclusive.
I think that person probably has their heart in the right place, but as long as there is prayer at all, it will continue to be exclusive to anyone who does not believe in god.
“They’re making schools not give scholarships to other religious colleges,” Councilman Shane Reed said during the meeting. “So, this is the type of group we’re dealing with and I encourage everyone to look at their site and see what we’re dealing with.”
I’m not entirely sure what they are referring to, probably because I think they got their facts wrong. They are not denying scholarships, they are concerned about the use of taxpayer money in violation of the Establishment Clause. And they are fighting against “… the Bush Administration’s claim that it can use taxpayer money to support religion without complaint by taxpayers”. I’m guessing they skimmed the information and picked up information on a case that was stated as a precedent for the current lawsuit Hein v. FFRF. In that case:
Flast v. Cohen (1968) permitted a taxpayer challenge of federal assistance to religious schools. The court ruled that challenges could be heard that question the use of “the taxing and spending power . . . to favor one religion over another or to support religion in general.”
And the typical response already in the comments:
How can this happen? “In God We Trust” is on all our money, but we can’t pray? This world is getting worse. What’s next, “Freedom of Speech?” I’m sadden by the Country that I love is trying to push out the God that loves us and was there when we won our FREEDOM. IN GOD I DO TRUST~! My freedom I’m worried about..
Oh you can pray, on your own time. You may not take time in a government venue to basically hold people hostage and proclaim your faith that they may not share. It’s called separation of church and state and it’s one of the tenets our country was founded on. I almost commented there, but at the last moment I saw the sign that said “Don’t feed the trolls”.