Pismo Beach settles prayer suit

April 17, 2014

The Pismo Beach City Council agreed Tuesday to stop having prayer before meetings and to pay legal fees and damages of about $47,502 to settle a lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).

On Nov. 1, FFRF and Dr. Sari Dworkin, a Pismo Beach resident and FFRF member, sued the city claiming the official prayers and chaplaincy violated the California Constitution. In the past, council meetings followed city chaplain Paul Jones, or one of his religious substitutes, speaking a Christian prayer. According to the suit, Jones’ prayers pressured citizens to live a Christian or biblical lifestyle, to vote for “righteous” leaders and to make decisions that “honor” his God.

“This is a significant victory to keep all prayer — sectarian or nonsectarian — out of Pismo Beach public meetings,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Pismo Beach officials said the city denies liability, but decided to settle rather than use public funds to fight the suit.

Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule on the issue of sectarian prayer in the Town of Greece v. Galloway, a New York case. Regardless of the outcome, Pismo Beach’s settlement will stand.

 


35 Comments

  1. MBwaiter says:

    Why didn’t the Pismo City Attorney tell the City to go to a moment of silence. Shouldn’t he have to pay the 47k for his mistake. MB went to a moment of silence 10 years ago based upon the advice of our City Attorney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  2. rlokkart says:

    If I wasn’t a Christian I too would be offended by Christian prayer before public meetings. As believers in the redemption of Christ, our job is to keep our leaders in prayer from within the meeting privately, and before and after the meeting as we wish. Our prayers need to be with all of those saddled with responsibility, that they have the wisdom and discernment to lead our wonderful community. May The Lord continue to bless us and them. Happy Easter all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

  3. rogerfreberg says:

    ah… losing the civilized manners in an increasingly uncivilized world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 23

Leave a Comment