Eureka mayor defiant on prayer breakfast

Calif. constitution absolutist on religion?
Eureka mayor Jager

Eureka mayor Jager

The following comes from a January 28 story in Humboldt County’s North Coast Journal.

The U.S. Supreme Court has resolved just how much prayer is OK at government meetings, but California’s law is a fresh and different battleground, according to a lawyer suing Eureka over city-backed religiosity.

So yes, the U.S. president can have a prayer breakfast if he wants, but mayor Frank Jager? Well, attorney Peter Martin said the state’s constitution is stricter, prohibiting any kind of promotion of religion.

On behalf of Eureka resident Carole Beaton, Martin is asking Humboldt County Superior Court to ban the city from holding prayers at city meetings and from using the mayor’s office to promote prayer.

That sort of thing should stop, he said, because article 16, section five of the state constitution forbids promoting religion. Martin said he hasn’t seen any case law that fully interprets that part of the constitution, so this could be a first.

Bring it on, said Jager, who by the way is leading a mayor’s prayer breakfast at 7 a.m. on Feb. 7 at the Wharfinger building in Eureka. “If they want to sue us, fine, we’ll take them on.”

Jager said he is definitely holding the breakfast in his official role as mayor, and not as a private citizen. Donations and ticket sales will pay the $700 rental fee for the city-owned building, he said, unlike last year when prayer space was provided for free.

After earlier complaints, Eureka clarified its invocation policy in May 2012, asking potential pray-ers to sign a volunteer form acknowledging that courts don’t allow references “to a specific religion, prophet or deity.”

Jager said that policy has been followed since, although Martin disagreed, saying a Hindu prayer back in August stepped over the sectarian line.

The mayor said Monday afternoon that he hadn’t yet seen the suit, which was filed on Friday and amended on Monday. But he knows the lawyer involved. “Peter Martin, he’s a good buddy of mine. We’ll invite him to the prayer breakfast. And if he doesn’t come, we’ll pray for him.”

To read original story, click here.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Mchicha Wacheza says:

    Man, This is just plain sad.

  2. St. Christopher says:

    Love the City of Eureka, and it’s great Mayor.

  3. …a dose of sanity amongst all the liberality along the Left Coast… refreshing!

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      How can a Municipality possibly have a prayer that does not mention a Diety? That is an insult to God!

      Any priest asked to do such a thing should say NO and make it clear why he said NO!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

  4. The Mayor and City of Eureka need to make it clear to the plantiffs they, by counter suit if necessary, will be required to pickup all legal costs should they loose their case.

  5. John Siple says:

    More POWER to you, Mr. Mayor.
    Good is good.

    • I used to wear a cross or a medal at times at all the places I worked. So did other people — many Jews wore Stars of David and Buddhists a Buddha charm and so forth. No one complained as long they they were not forced to do such things. I also took my Liturgy of the Hours book and prayed during my break or at lunch. It is no one’s business what prayers one says in any place as long as it is done on ones own time in a way that does not disturb other people, and no one is forced to do it. A group voluntarily praying in a room is also no ones business as long as they are not singing loudly.

  6. It was on government property, too, where I said my Liturgy of the Hours silently. Another worker used to bring her Protestant Bible and read it. As I said — it is no ones business.

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