Protesters Face Off Over Lodi City Council Prayers
August 6, 2009
Laura Cole — CBS 13 News
The battle over prayer and politics came to Lodi Wednesday evening as the City Council debated a religious ritual done before every meeting.
Peaceful but loud and contentious protests were held in front of the Lodi City Council chambers as city leaders debated whether prayers referring specifically to Jesus Christ should be allowed before meetings.
The issue was raised in May, when the city received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Wisconsin that challenged the use of the words Jesus Christ in prayers. The city then asked pastors to refrain from using the words.
“I try to be respectful of people’s beliefs and feelings, and I think as a councilmember, you have to,” Mayor Hansen said.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, the reverend leading the prayer was interrupted by protesters.
The issue was on the agenda in Wednesday’s meeting, but due to the overwhelming number of people who wanted to weigh in on the debate, city officials delayed a vote until a special meeting on September 30.