Tehachapi City Council votes 5-0 for opening prayers to stay
September 26, 2009
Alex Murashko — The Examiner
The Tehachapi City Council voted unanimously to not put limits on what religious leaders say during opening prayers for its meetings Monday.
Mayor Linda Vernon started the prayers before meetings in the city, which is east of Bakersfield, when she took office in January. However, the prayers were put on hold at the council’s last meeting because of the threat of a lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Rev. Kyle Phillips of the Grace Fellowship gave the invocation at the Sept. 21 City Council meeting at the BeeKay Theatre, closing with “In Jesus’ precious name,” according to the Tehachapi News.
Public discussion included several residents voicing their support for prayer before meetings.
“I don’t think they’re [the foundation] an authority on anything,” public speaker Mike Jones said, “They have bullied people into capitulation.”
“These [atheists] are a religion themselves and are attempting to foist their beliefs on others,” Jones said.
Vernon said she believes the city is following what is required by law and hopes the Freedom From Religion Foundation will not pursue legal action, according to local news reports.