April 23, 2014

Pismo Beach City Council Votes to Halt Prayer at Meetings

English: The coast at Pismo Beach.
The coast at Pismo Beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The following press release is being posted by request from a reader and was received on April 16, 2014. I hope it will serve as yet another reminder that church-state activism can be effective.

The Pismo Beach City Council (California) voted yesterday evening to accept an agreement with the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and a local member of Atheists United San Luis Obispo (AU/SLO) to end all prayers at council meetings and eliminate the city chaplaincy.

After a closed session at last night's city council meeting, the City Attorney reported that the Council had voted 3-0 to authorize him to accept a stipulated judgment with the plaintiffs to pay each $1 in nominal damages, discontinue the city chaplaincy, and cease "scheduling, coordinating, inviting, delivering, or otherwise participating in prayers, invocations, or religious rituals at the opening, immediately proceeding, or following, council meetings."

City Council members Vardas and Reiss did not attend last night's meeting, at which no invocation was given.

"We are very happy the city of Pismo Beach has decided to end this exclusionary and unconstitutional practice and make their government meetings welcoming to all citizens," said David Leidner, AU/SLO board member.

The settlement between FFRF and Pismo Beach will be reviewed by San Luis Obispo superior court Judge Martin Tangeman, who is expected to sign it and make it legally binding.

Atheists United SLO is a local non-profit organization that aims to create a supportive community for atheists, agnostics, and rationalists in San Luis Obispo County. AU/SLO encourages critical thinking about religion, advocates for the separation of church and state, and strives to demonstrate the positive aspects of atheism.

For additional info: http://auslo.org/news.html

For a podcast of an interview with David Leidner: http://kvec.edbroadcasters.com/dave-congalton-podcasts/

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