Should Prayer be Allowed at City Council Meetings?

City officials to consider reinstate a practice discontinued.

Written by RAYMOND TRAN / Published January 7, 2011

In honor of a long time Temple City resident who recently passed away, the City Council will consider whether to reinstate prayers at city meetings.

The initiative to bring back nonsectarian, nondenominational prayers is being championed by Temple City Councilman Carl Blum. The councilman asked his colleagues to consider this during the April 6, 2010 city council meeting.

“I would like bring an invocation back to these meetings,” he said.

One of the reasons why Blum wants to reinstate public prayers is John Zubrick. Zubrick, who died last month, was an active member of the Temple City community.

Four days before Zubrick died, he wrote a letter to the City Council requesting that it review the issue.

“I feel, and possibly many others feel the same, that a nondenominational prayer should be invoked at the city council meetings, as well as the planning commission meetings, and other meetings,” he said.

While sectarian prayers, or prayers that invoke the name of a deity, are illegal, prayers in public settings themselves are not.

“Cities can, and many do, still give nonsectarian, nondenominational prayers,” City Attorney Vail said.

Temple City Mayor Fernando Vizcarra on Tuesday said that whether public prayer is reinstated will depend on the City Council.

“What I’d like to see happen…[is for the city to] have a public hearing, get some community input, and make a decision as a council,” he said.

“I think we definitely need to pursue this,” Councilman Blum said.

Also on Tuesday night, the mayor appointed Blum and Councilman Vincent Yu to a newly formed an ad hoc committee. This ad hoc committee will focus on the Rosemead Boulevard Improvement Project.


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