May 18, 2010
"Redding California will invite a cross-section of religious leaders to give an invocation before City Council meetings.
The council voted 3-2 this evening to diversify the invocations after hearing from two speakers who urged officials to keep the prayers Christian or not offer them at all.
Mayor Patrick Jones had suggested the city open the invocations essentially a prayer seeking guidance to representatives of all religions practiced in the greater Redding area.
Vice Mayor Missy McArthur and council member Rick Bosetti supported the idea.
I believe in diversity and inclusion in our society, said McArthur, adding that she has participated in the National Day of Prayer at City Hall.
Council members Dick Dickerson and Mary Stegall dissented, saying the current practice of having police chaplains deliver the invocation keeps the city out of trouble with state law that forbids sectarian prayer at public meetings.
Stegall also questioned whether inviting different religious leaders to deliver the invocation would create the hoped-for sense of inclusion among different faiths.
You will find it is not true diversity in our community because our community is not that diverse, said Stegall, noting the city has tiny minorities of Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.
Redding California will invite invocations from all faiths