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.


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Just do a moment of silence and people can do whatever they want (prayer, thanks, reflection, etc), seems so simple to me.

Fishing Village….it is SIMPLE. We the citizens in Morro Bay pray not just at city council meetings but daily to get rid of Irons, Christine Johnson and the Schmuck…….ler that is

Simple amazing that Pismo had to pay 47k for bad legal advice in didn’t change to a moment of silence like MB. Another good move by our previous City Attorney

Conclusion ?

These ‘prayers’ did not work very well, because:

(A) God wasn’t listening, or

(B) They were directed to the wrong God.

Brother Slowerfaster,

The prayers probably didn’t work because of the simple fact that the pseudo-christians didn’t follow Jesus’ orders very well, by praying in public when they’re not to do this act! (Matthew 6:5-6) Such insolence to Jesus will not be taken lightly come Judgment Day, praise!

Well. Brother Ted …I think we both recognize that this is just rehearsal for Judgment Day, and it is NIGH !’

Appreciate all of your apolstolic admonissions with Scripture substantiation.


Another nut job trying to fource their will on others. My suggestion: for a meeting that starts at 6:00 p.m. have a prayer at 5:55 p.m. before the meeting is called to order. Any council members who wish to join may sit in the audience area and take their seats on the dias after the prayer has been offered. As they say “there are no atheists in a foxhole” … I know this from experience. Or country needs God, in whatever form we wish to worship, more than ever. However, if you don’t want to pray, don’t. You don’t have to believe in God but remember he believes in you.


Can you in a Christian religious manner tell us why you go directly against Jesus when He states with specificity that one should pray in secret? Are you proposing that you know more than Jesus regarding the act of prayer?!

Jesus stated: “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6)


The old saw about “there are no atheists in a foxhole” is not correct. While most soldiers (& Marines) are courageous in a physical sense, they sometimes lack the type of courage it takes to go against the majority of their comrades by opposing their religious views. There are probably no more atheists in the military than in most other walks of life, but many of those that exist feel the need to stay “in the closet” to avoid needless conflict and mindless distrust from their fellow warriors. While this is situation is gradually changing, it still exists. If you want an honest view on the subject, do an objective survey of retired veterans of the armed forces. They aren’t under the type of pressure to conform that active duty members are.

My assignment in Viet Nam contained some personal risks … to the point that I remember times when my mouth was so dry with fear that it was only through prayer that I completed my mission and that I got through the situation. I remember times that the only words spoken by the crew over the headsets were prayers … there were no atheists in that foxhole … even though our foxhole was way above ground.

Had you been in a different “fox hole” you would have heard different words.

“Your logical fallacy is you appealed to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation.

The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity.

If it did, then the Earth would have made itself flat for most of history to accommodate this popular belief.”

“Another nut job trying to fource their will on others.”

Like you want to force your “prayer” on free citizens?

No, you don’t have the right to force feed others your beliefs.

Major fallacy of False Analogy here! I accept your premise that religion is based on faith, with faith being defined as a knowledge claim for which there is no evidence. If you take the time to investigate (putting your confirmation bias on hold first), you will find enough compelling evidence for the existence of a Global Warming trend along with the accompanying atmospheric distortions. I take a small risk of being accused of the fallacy of Appeal to Authority (but

a very small one) when I inform you that over 95% of the scientist’s who specialize in the

field of climatology are in no doubt of the existance of the deleterious effects we are having on the atmosphere of this planet.

the 95% of scientists agree number is right out of the tell a lie over and over until it becomes truth playbook of the environmental left. Those who believe in man-made global warming are also those who are hitting up the government for grants to continue to perpetuate the myth.

The 95% or 98% number was debunked in Forbes magazine back in 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/07/17/that-scientific-global-warming-consensus-not/

Since 1998, more than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines, including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s, have signed a public petition announcing their belief that “…there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Included are atmospheric physicists, botanists, geologists, oceanographers, and meteorologists.

Stop drinking the warming koolaid!


the academe or a 2nd amendment blogger @ Forbes you decide

I will take the word of one who works in th real world over an academic anytime

I see. Tell us more about this real world and how it differs from the world described by science.

“is right out of the tell a lie over and over until it becomes truth playbook ”

That is what you are doing, Try linking to your “proof”.

“Since 1998, more than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines, ”

No, Climatology: 39, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Petition

“”In between Aaagard and Zylkowski, the first and last names on the petition, are an assortment of metallurgists, botanists, agronomists, organic chemists and so on. … The vast majority of scientists who signed the petition have never studied climatology and don’t do any research into it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Ph.D. A Ph.D in metallurgy just makes you better at metallurgy. It does not transform you into some kind of expert in paleoclimatology. … So the petition’s suggestion that everyone with a degree in metallurgy or geophysics knows a lot about climate change, or is familiar with all the research that’s been done, is patent crap.””

I really think this has got to stop. We have just as much right to pray at council meetings,

classrooms and so on. If you don’t like it PLEASE wait outside till were are all done,Just like

when I was growing up.Look at the mess America is in cause no GOD is allowed anywhere. It

may offend someone. WHAT ABOUT US, this offends us. People are so sues crazy today

and it’s all about them.Come on PEOPLE get off it. Thank you for giving me this chance to

speak up.



Indeed you do have a “right to pray at council meetings, classrooms and so on.” You have

always enjoyed that right. What you don’t have is the right to have a governmental agency

sponsor and/or mandate prayer; especially a particular “flavor.”


Whether or not someone(s) “don’t like it” is irrelevant. It is strictly a Constitutional issue.


You use the plural pronoun “we.” I find it to be very grandiose of you to assume that you

are speaking for all of the folks present.


It scares me to think that you might (are?) so naive as to attribute the “mess” America is in

(when has it not been in one “mess” or another?) on the whims of a supernatural “SKY

DADDY,” for which the existence of lacks any compelling evidence.


Louise, my fellow Christian, with this current position of yours, you certainly have the wrong moniker. With that being said, lets introduce some biblical facts relative to prayer in public, shall we?

Jesus stated: “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6)

No Christian has the authority to argue with the direct word of Jesus as stated above in that we’re to pray in secret, and NOT at any City Council meeting or in a public school setting. Louise, do you know more than Jesus in this respect? No? I didn’t think so.

Dear, what you have to understand is the fact that many different faiths, that contradict our true faith, also pay their taxes to the city of Pismo Beach, and in the same vein, then their religious freedom of prayer has to be heard as well. Therefore, your position is legally opening up a can of worms. Case in point, would you step outside to a Jewish prayer at the beginning of the council meeting? Would you be comfortable with a Muslim prayer to Allah to start the meetings? Would you be okay with a member of the Santeria faith in sacrificing a chicken as they do before their prayers? Most importantly, who would clean up the bloody mess afterwards? Do you see where your godly misguided notion can lead? Sure you do.

Louise, we can gain solace in knowing that our Hebrew God already knows what we need BEFORE we ask Him! “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) Prayer is a Catch-22, in that we’re to pray, but at the same time, we slap our God directly in the face when a Christian does insidiously pray, because our God is omniscient and already knows what we need!

This is why our government should realize, AND JESUS SUBSTANTIATES, that we’re to keep prayer from many different contradicting religions out of public arena.

Furthermore, I would suggest that chaplain Paul Jones actually read his bible instead of probably using it as a door stop. Its such insolence to our Hebrew God for him to go directly against the bible in respect to prayer! Shameful.

The GOD of IRONY can be quite the trickster !

Can AG please do the same thing and get rid of prayer. Or if you are going to do it have someone of different faiths come and speak not just Christian point of view. I would like to hear from the Jewish community, the atheist, Jehovah witness ect, then it does not seem secular.

And personally I don’t want to stand up for any of them. Why can I not stay seated like in church and listen to what they have to say?Yes, I know I could actually stay seated but the peer pressure and the looks are a bit much

Pretty broad reach from “the government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, to a prayer being subject to a $47k settlement.

I think it’s time for Global Warming or Climate Change or whatever moiker it goes by now to officially be declared a religion. It’s a belief based on faith, and those who question are called non-believers. Will save us a few billion dollars per year if this faith based religiion is also silenced.

Science work proves out with observation deduction, no faith, except for the scientific method which was revealed to Descartes by an angel in a dream in Einstein’s home town. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHihkRwisbE

Just another sign of the times.

Would Amen be appropriate?

No, Jesus, as substantiated above in my post, would give it a double AMEN, AMEN!