Wednesday, November 06, 2013

'Atheist Jew' Sues Calif. Town Council for Praying

Pismo Beach, California is being sued by local resident Dr. Sari Dworkin, a psychologist, and self-identified "atheist Jew," who is represented by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).  The lawsuit blames the city council for chaplain Dr. Paul Jones' prayers addressed to God -- prayers that imply that God blesses America -- which certainly violates the intent of the nation's founders, the atheists say.

For background, read Pennsylvania Town Prays, Ignores Atheists' Threats and also read Atheists Threaten to Sue Every School in Tennessee and in Mississippi but admit they're Short on Lawyers to Sue ALL Christians

UPDATE 5/13/14: U.S. Supreme Court rules prayers to Jesus Christ OK at government meetings

-- From "Pismo Beach city council gets sued for saying prayers before meetings" by Connie Tran, KSBY-TV 6 (San Luis Obispo) 11/5/13

. . . But, the city said there is no viable lawsuit. City attorney Dave Fleishman said since the city passed a policy in 2003 that all invocations have to be non-sectarian, they've followed closely to that.

"I would be hard pressed to find any invocation that Dr. Jones has given where Jesus has been invoked by name. There have been one or two, but it hasn't been Dr. Jones. And, Dr. Jones has been very good about making his invocations non-sectarian in nature," said Fleishman.

The local atheist group, Atheists United San Luis Obispo, said they support Freedom From Religion Foundation and has been helping them prepare the lawsuit for more than a year.

At Tuesday nights meeting, Rev. Jones said in his invocation, "Our Heavenly Father", "But our hearts and minds are tuned to God in child-like trust, God the Invisible enables us to complete any assignment", and "This invocation we pray in the name of our loving Lord". He ended the invocation with an "amen".

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pismo invocations focus of lawsuit" by Brian Bullock, Santa Maria Times 11/5/13

The lawsuit stems from a complaint against the city from Sari Dworkin, a member of Atheists United of San Luis Obispo and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in 2012 that objected to invocations being offered prior to city meetings.

In it’s announcement, the FFRF claims that the retired Rev. Paul Jones has offered “explicitly Christian prayers” at its meetings for years, specifically citing that Jones delivered 125 of 126 invocations from 2008 to 2013.

Over the past two months, Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Pastor Paul Toms, of Grace Bible Church, have also offered the invocation at the council meetings. However, Jones has handled the duties at 15 of the council’s 18 meetings this year.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pismo Beach hit with lawsuit from religious watchdog" by Rhys Heyden, New Times (San Luis Obispo) 11/4/13

The suit alleges that prayers conducted at Pismo Beach City Council meetings are unconstitutional, requests a permanent end to said prayers, and seeks to declare the city's appointment of Dr. Paul Jones as city chaplain as unconstitutional, too.

The suit names the city of Pismo Beach, the Pismo Beach City Council, Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, and Dr. Paul Jones as defendants.

The exhaustive lawsuit consists of a 25-page complaint, 170 pages of exhibits, and a 57-page appendix.

Particularly damning is Jones' prayer from Oct. 16, 2012, when he asked the "Heavenly Father" to prompt citizens to "elect leaders who will stand up for the clear standards that are expressed in the Bible, the Holy Writings of God." Jones also complained that "many of our citizens and leaders have turned from the path of righteousness in our lives and lifestyles."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Atheist Group Sues Calif. City Over Chaplain's Prayer at City Council Meetings" by Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter 11/5/13

The FFRF lawsuit against the city of Pismo Beach comes as the Supreme Court prepares to take up the case of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway, Susan, a lawsuit filed by residents of Greece, New York who argue their city violated their first amendment rights by allowing predominately Christian prayers to take place at government meetings. The ruling of the case would set a precedent for prayer at government meetings in the U.S.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation stated that "regardless of how the Supreme Court decides the Greece case, FFRF's case can proceed, and could carve out protections against government prayer for all citizens in the country's most populated state."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

In addition, read Texas Law Tells Schools to Ignore Atheist Threats 

The root issue is American Religious Liberty vs. Anti-Christian Totalitarianism

To read the latest attacks on Christian prayer by atheists, click label "PRAYER" below: