The Pismo Beach City Council is claiming that their opening prayers are nonsectarian, but they are not. Almost all of the opening prayers since 2008 have been overtly Christian, given by Christian clergy and calling specifically upon the Christian god, the majority using the terms “our personal Savior” or “Christ our Lord.”
These are not generic honorifics for God, they are specific to the Christian faith. And so are the themes in the prayers, including declarations that we are sinners and exhortations to government officials to obey the Bible. The Bible, quoted liberally in the prayers, is the holy book of Christianity, not all faiths. And the idea that religious tenets should be applied to politics isn’t even shared by all Christians.
Imagine what it might be like for non-Christians to have to listen to these prayers before they can bring any business before the Council. It’s not unreasonable to think they may feel unwelcome, even intimidated. By seeking to stop the prayers, Atheists United SLO is standing up for everyone’s right to a government that does not exclude them.
To learn more about the lawsuit, visit http://www.atheistsunited.org/slo.