Lancaster, California.,-If you plan to attend a Lancaster City Council meeting, be prepared to have the government meeting begin with invocations from different religious beliefs. Three years ago, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, was quoted he was “growing a Christian community,” and later explained he only meant a loving community.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
“The invocations have come from Muslims, Sikhs and Wiccans as well as from Christians. Parris says the exposure has had a “unifying effect,” with people in the High Desert city no longer flinching at mentions of Allah.”
A federal appellate court affirmed a district court ruling that a single reference to Jesus Christ in an invocation did not violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
“On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision, ruling that the prayers were constitutional because the city had invited people of all faiths to lead them.
Sectarian prayers are not prohibited at government meetings, the court said, and the city has not endorsed one religion over another, even though a majority of the prayers are Christian. Eliminating the word “Jesus” would not work as a practical matter, since the city would have to edit every prayer for similar references, the court said.”
Attorney Roger Jon Diamond, a 1st Amendment attorney, plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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