Lodi stands tall in council prayer controversy
October 6, 2009
Charlie Butts – OneNewsNow
Another California town is standing up to an atheist group over city council prayer.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation had threatened Lodi, California, with a lawsuit if it did not stop the practice of praying in Jesus’ name. [Chaplain] Gordon James Klingenschmitt of PrayinJesusName.org tells OneNewsNow the council approved the ban, but public pressure resulted in a change of heart.
“The city council of Lodi, California, voted 5-0 to reverse their temporary ban on prayer in Jesus’ name,” he explains. “They had for the last three months outlawed the words ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ or ‘Savior’ as illegal speech that cannot be uttered during a prayer at a city council meeting.”
It is now a wait-and-see situation as to whether the Foundation actually does file suit. Klingenschmitt is planning ahead in case that happens.
“We are organizing a fundraising drive up to $10,000. I’m working closely with the Alliance Defense Fund, and they will represent the city in court pro bono,” he says. “But if the city loses that lawsuit, we still need to raise money to mitigate and possibly pay the atheist’s attorney fees if we lose that.”
According to Klingenschmitt, three other California communities — Tehachapi, Tracy, and Turlock — have stood strong against legal threats seeking to bar public prayers in Jesus’ name.