A Washington state mayor told ministers that invoking Jesus Christ in invocations at city council meetings was not acceptable, as such prayers could expose the city to a lawsuit, according to The Daily News.
“It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy and cost our city and our citizens a lot of money,” said Longview Mayor Don Jensen.
The Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association responded by saying if they can’t speak the name Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation.
Longview city council meetings have started with Christian invocations since the 1950’s, but the practice came to an end last week after a complaint was lodged by Longview resident Dan L. Smith, 69, who describes himself as a “very comfortable atheist,” reports the Seattle Times.
Longview City Attorney James McNamara said the U.S. Supreme Court law has made it clear that invocations can be given at city council meetings, as noted by The Daily News.
“The more unclear answer is whether the prayer can invoke the name of Jesus Christ,” he said Monday, adding that different courts have reached different conclusions on the matter.
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