So…the mayor of Stockton, CA organized a prayer rally where he gave god the key to the city. I’m thinking that’s not legal:
According to the letter, Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva promoted prayer and religion by sponsoring a Prayer Rally on November 16. In his official capacity as mayor through social media accounts and press releases, Silva organized and endorsed the twelve-hour prayer rally and encouraged citizens to pray. At the rally, Silva presented the official key to the city, used for honorary public events, to God, and he also led attendees in prayer. Mayor Silva has also organized Town Hall meetings, co-sponsored by Christian organizations, at Calvary First Assembly of God and at Christian Life Center. The “Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting” is slated to be held on November 30, 2015 at Christian Life Center, according to a flyer on city letterhead attached to press release by the mayor.
Um, yeah. None of that is legal. On top of being illegal, isn’t the key to the city for people who, like, do good things? God hasn’t done squat and you’re going to gloss over the multiple people in your community who are actively working to change it? That’s pretty lousy.
Using the state to promote religion, particularly sectarian religion, is a no-no, and it will be a fairly costly no-no if the AHA can find a plaintiff.
“Mayors and other public officials cannot use the machinery of the state to push their religious agendas,” said Monica Miller, senior counsel with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Using the state to promote prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and alienates community members of minority faiths and of no faith.”