Arroyo Grande axes prayer from council meetings

December 11, 2014

invocationFollowing a threat of Satanism preaching at council meetings, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted to eliminate its longstanding invocation practice.

The council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to stop holding invocations and replace them with moments of silence. Council members Barbara Harmon and Tim Brown dissented in the vote.

Four members of an atheist group spoke during public comment at the hearing. One said a local satanic group is forming, and due to a recent Supreme Court hearing, the city would have to allow them to participate in the invocation practice.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that faith-based invocations are permissible at public meetings. However, the ruling shortly followed the city of Pismo Beach choosing to settle a lawsuit filed by an atheist group, claiming prayer that occurred at council meetings had violated the California Constitution.

The Pismo Beach City Council agreed to stop allowing prayer at the beginning of its meetings and to pay $47,502 in legal fees and damages to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

In addition to Pismo Beach, the cities of Atascadero and San Luis Obispo also do not have invocations at their council meetings. Grover Beach and Morro Bay councils each conduct moments of silence, according to an Arroyo Grande staff report.

Paso Robles is now the only city in the county that still has invocations at council meetings. Representatives of any faith, including atheism, can participate.


I’m not sure everyone listened to the last part of the meeting, Jim Guthrie announced that he was retiring January 31, 2015.

Ted Slanders

No more prayer at Council Meetings? It’s about time! It was a direct slap to the face of Jesus if Christian prayers were offered in the first place, so saith Jesus the Christ!

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 in public, nor at any Council Meeting!

The plus side to this ruling is who ever lead the invocation relative to Christianity, and the participants following it in prayer, will not anymore be HYPOCRITES by praying in public as Jesus said NOT to do.

All Christian pastors, priests, etc. will now save further embarrassment by not praying anymore in public as they went directly against Jesus’ teachings on prayer as shown above. It’s about time these pseudo-christian leaders of their different divisions of Christianity start reading their bibles for a change. Amen.


Good to see that every once in a while a local city does something right.

Treaty of Tripoli

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”


Is it not ironic that some would argue that Satan was removed by the recent election

Hmmmm…something to ponder.


Just two ends of the same spectrum.


From the Tribune:

Councilwoman Krsiten Barneich said she favored a moment of silence over holding invocations, though she added “Invocations for the last couple of months have been the most pleasant part of our meetings.”

Easy to make the meetings pleasant: act equally to all and within your policy.


i agree with her. Silence is within her intellectual range of understanding.

JB Bronson

Stunned: I respect your comment, and do not want to be irreverant to God.

That being the truth, I was not attempting humor in my initial comment.

JB Bronson

Given the state of local politics, there is no indication that God has been responsive to the prayers. No doubt God hears them, but ultimately, the politicians are responsible for what they do between prayers.


With all due respect JB you shouldn’t use God with political humor even if it is to make a point. We’ve allowed God to be stripped from so much in this good land and now this! Peace my friend.


Yes, since about….1954 when “Under God” was added as an outgrow to fight communism. For your, and like-minded folks clarification, yes, even elucidation, read up on this in it’s entirety:

Of special note, check on the “Bellamy Salute”, or should we bring that back as well?


Some of us do not believe in God. Indeed, the nutball right has pimped Christ-based religious groups for something as foul as politics.

So I see no reason to not also link rightwing politics with God.


So Mary, If you don’t believe in God, why do you capitilalize His name? Usually, one who does not believe will use lower case when mentioning our Creator of all that exists.

Maybe you do?, but you don’t yet realize yet it?

Prayers your way my dear.


Jim Morrison was correct you cannot petition the Lord with prayer


Right on, Zaphod!


While I don’t agree with what I consider social extortion on behalf non-believers the residents of Arroyo Grande can continue to always look for brighter side of life.


Here’s a stupid remark from the non-believing spokesman “….said a local satanic group is forming”. Actually satanism has been practiced for 40+ years that I’m aware of. Seems like there was a group on the Mesa years ago.

Athiests have nothing to fear. That alone aligns in their belief in nothing and the last time I checked we ARE one nation under God however, we are now divided and cannot conquer. And no, I’m not confusing atheism with the agnostics.


We never were one nation under god.


Not quite true. Despite individual differences, our founding fathers professed a belief in God as the Creator of the universe and believed that religion encouraged a moral citizenry, which they deemed essential to the success of the new republic. Yet they were keenly aware that European history demonstrated the power of religion to spawn sectarian strife and violence.


Careful Pelican 1 — You’re straddling a political-religious fence and that can get painful. You know the most accurate and objective version of the history of religion during the founding of this nation but that won’t keep the fanatics on either side from attacking you for not spouting their politicized versions. (I say this as a non-Christian who recognizes that Christianity does have some positive aspects.)


Yes, we were.

God has blessed us up to this point because of our Judeo-Christian start.

I notice that you used lower case in God this time. I still have hope for you Mary.

I long for yesteryear when 100% of our nation believed in God. When prayer, the 10 Commandments, and Creationism was taught in our schools.

Then, in the 60’s, folk like you came out and spread like a cancer. Not only in our elementary schools, but then into higher education. Really, the minority. But government eventually gave in to the minority voice. And so here we have it.

People like you are still in the minority but have a huge voice because of the leftist agenda in the 24 hour news cycle.

You and those like you are a cancer upon this once blessed nation. “A Nation under God”. Now that we, because of people like you have turned our backs to our Creator God, we will all suffer the impending wrath from Him that will impact the whole world.

Read the Old Testament. See how God dealt with His people when they disobeyed Him.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


Amen! Except for the last part, oh and the first, unless it was satire, then all of it. Especially the parts about Mary! Saucy!

I do love a good fiction! Thank you for the entertainment.

P.S. where can I find the leftist 24 hr news? Because nearly 70% of the tripe on any media I see nowadays is FOX news bull.


God is but a unified field of unconditional love-a wave configuration of quantum energy that encompasses the universe. It is only the human who assigns gender, and traits such as “punishing, wrathful, etc”, and then limits God to one single nation. There is a whole world, and worlds beyond. Like I said, humans assign traits to God. That would include having a very narrow spectrum such as a nation-when it is actually an infinite universe-and it is limitless and infinite. (This is when they put the trait “stupid and limited” on God-by assuming there is only one religion and one country in existence). You see this in people with limited consciousness and awareness. “You and those like you are a cancer upon this once blessed nation” is not in alignment with the loving kindness taught by the majority of doctrine in existence. Slave race: they assign a fear based agenda and believe in severe punishment and fear as well as an extinction protocol.