Reinstated Invocation at Escondido City Council Meeting Proves Problematic

June 3, 2005

Source: Union-Tribune

On June 3, 2005 the Union-Tribune reported, "for the second time since the city revived invocations before council meetings, a religious leader invoked Jesus in his prayer, violating city guidelines and a recent court decision. Pastor Vincent Xavier said he gave Wednesday night's invocation with full knowledge that his words violated the guidelines, which call for invocations that are 'inclusive, nonsectarian and carefully planned to avoid embarrassments and misunderstandings'... The city has received no complaints, but Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler said yesterday she had concerns about where the invocations are heading... The problem stems from a state appeals court ruling in 2002. It held that prayers that reflect a particular religious tradition, when offered at city council meetings, violate the Constitution's Establishment clause, which ensures that the government favor no particular religion. The decision arose from a case in Burbank where a Mormon ended an invocation 'in the name of Jesus Christ.' Two men sued."