Praying in Jesus’ Name Causes Controversy in Lodi
August 6, 2009
Anne Makovec — News 10/KXTV
The city of Lodi is bracing for dueling rallies Wednesday night on both sides of the controversy of religion in a governmental forum.
The issue in Lodi is centered around saying the name “Jesus” during the opening invocation of Lodi City Council meetings. That is against the city of Lodi’s official protocol, which says the prayer must be non-denominational.
Wednesday’s city council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., will begin with a prayer but won’t include the name Jesus.
Hood admitted Tuesday that some religious leaders who led the invocation have said the name Jesus over the past several months, even though it is against policy.
That’s what caused the Freedom From Religion Foundation to complain. David Diskin, who lives in Lodi and joined forces with the FFRF only after hearing about this controversy, said his group wants everyone of every faith to feel comfortable in that forum.
The FFRF would prefer a moment of silence over prayer, but Diskin says that refraining from using the name Jesus would be a step in the right direction.
They’re holding a rally outside of City Hall at 5:15 p.m.
At 6 p.m., the other side of the issue, the “Pray in Jesus’ Name Project” holds its rally. They’re expecting around 200 people to show up.
That group has collected 5,000 signatures on a petition asking the city council to allow the name Jesus. The group’s leader, Gordon Klingenschmitt, said they also raised $10,000 to help the city with legal fees.
News10 asked Klingenschmitt why it wasn’t okay to simply pray without saying the word Jesus in a governmental venue. He said that Jesus would then be ashamed of them on judgment day.