Sectarian Prayers Before City Council Meetings Banned By Calif. Court.
The Burbank City Council's practice of opening some meetings with sectarian prayer violates the separation of church and state
Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. Superior Court Judge Alexander Williams III ruled Nov. 23 that the council's practice of using invocational prayers that refer to Jesus Christ Jesus Christ: see Jesus.
40 days after Resurrection, ascended into heaven. [N.T.: Acts 1:1–11]
See : Ascension
kind to the poor, forgiving to the sinful. [N.T. violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Williams did not rule that the council must terminate all prayers, only that it must advise guest ministers that sectarian invocations are not permitted. "The court fully understands the reluctance of the City Council and the Burbank Ministerial Association to dictate the content of prayer" Williams wrote. "All that is required is an advertisement that sectarian prayer as part of City Council meetings is not permitted under our Constitution."
The legal challenge was brought by Irv Rubin, chairman of the Jewish Defense League The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a militant Jewish organization whose stated goal is to protect Jews from anti-Semitism. Founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York City in 1968, its self-described purpose was to protect Hasidic Jews from harassment in Brooklyn, and to . Rubin got angry last November when he attended a council meeting to discuss issues related to a municipal airport and heard a Mormon church The Mormon Church is a religious body founded in 1830 in Fayette, New York, by Joseph Smith. It is also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS Church. There are 7.7 million Mormons worldwide. official open the session with a prayer that ended "in the name of Jesus Christ." He subsequently filed suit along with Roberto Alejandro Gandara, a local Roman Catholic activist who opposes council-led prayers.
The Burbank City Council meets weekly. Its opening prayers are handled by the Burbank Ministerial Association, which is composed mostly of local Christian clergy. During the trial, the Rev. Ronald Degges, the Association's president, estimated that fewer than 50 percent of the prayers said at the meetings end in Jesus' name.
At the first meeting after the ruling, Pastor Jerry Jones of Burbank Community Church followed the guidelines and offered a non-denominational prayer. Jones told the Los Angeles Daily News The Daily News of Los Angeles, also known as the Los Angeles Daily News, is the second largest circulating daily newspaper of Los Angeles, California. It is published by the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which owns eight other Southern California newspapers that that had been his plan all along. "When I pray in a public setting, I'm old enough and wise enough to realize I'm in public," he said. "I'm not in my church. In my church, I would pray altogether differently.... I hope we can find a balance so we don't lose the invocation outright."
Members of the Burbank City Council later voted unanimously to appeal the ruling.
Meanwhile, successful plaintiffs Rubin and Gandara are asking other cities in the San Gabriel Valley The San Gabriel Valley is one of the principal valleys of southern California. It lies to the east of the city of Los Angeles, to the north of the Puente Hills, to the south of the San Gabriel Mountains, and to the west of the Inland Empire. to drop sectarian prayers.