Usually, when city councils want to pray before a meeting, they’ll get around the legal problem by having an “invocation.” It may be “non-denominational,” but usually, you know it’s the Christian god being referred to. It’s a loophole in the system and some city councils love to exploit it.
In Sand Springs, Oklahoma, however, they’re not even bothering with the subtleties. Forget non-denominational prayers. Their invocation prayers are directly to Jesus.
Beau McElhattan not only attended a meeting to witness this firsthand, he obtained cassette tapes of the meetings — yes, those cassette tapes — then digitally converted them and put them on YouTube so we could all hear the Jesus-loving invocation prayers for ourselves.
In one invocation from May 9th, 2011, you hear the phrases “In Jesus’ name,” “Father,” and “Amen.”
No doubt this is a Christian prayer. In other words, Muslims and atheists and Jews and Hindus are not welcome in Sand Springs, where prayers are not confined to churches and private homes.
Are these bad people? Not really.
Should they be doing this? Not at all. Not in this setting.
Is it a violation of church/state separation? Yes.
Do they know it’s a violation? Who knows.
Beau sent Mayor Mike Burdge a letter explaining the problem and asking him to put a stop to the Christian-only invocations.
No response yet.
But if the videos start appearing in other places, maybe the pressure will mount…