After 12 Years of Getting Right Down to Business, City Council Will Bring Back Religious Invocations

For more than a decade now, the members of the Irvine City Council (in California) have started meetings by doing what they were elected to do: The work of the residents.

Now, after a 3-2 vote, they have decided to put God on their agenda:

Members of the Irvine City Council. Only Krom and Agran correctly voted against the prayers.

After a dozen years without starting its meetings with prayer, the Irvine City Council will again invite religious leaders to say an invocation before plunging into government business.

Council members Beth Krom and Larry Agran, who had advocated ending the practice years before, voted against the prayers.

Agran said the move to bring back council invocations was “driven by lawyers and bureaucrats, not us policymakers.”

He said he has nothing against invocations but “I just don’t want to be in the business of prescribing and directing people of faith.”

Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway referred to the ceremony as an “American tradition” and called on “people to be more tolerant.”

This is not an issue of tolerance. No one would argue if the politicians prayed before their meetings, or at home, or at church, or on the drive to work, or anywhere else on their own time.

This is an issue of following the law, not discriminating against atheists, and not wasting time that should be spent working for the taxpayers.

No word yet on which “religious leaders” will be invited to deliver the invocations, or whether any Humanists are even being considered.

(Thanks to Scott for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.