Kennewick city Councilman John Trumbo is demanding that his fellow city councilmen open up every meeting with a prayer to the Christian interpretation of God, reported Raw Story. Naturally, this obviously-ludicrous and overzealous proposal has been met with some pushback.
Non-Denominational prayers and moments of silence aren’t constitutional violations, noted The Tri-City Herald; however, Trumbo’s demand does violate the U.S. Constitution in that it attempts to recognize a single definition of God and no others. Even religion-in-government advocates see problems with Trumbo’s wishes.
“I suspect there’d be some legal difficulties in dictating who someone prays to,” said Brett Harvey of the Alliance for Defending Freedom.
Trumbo was asked to define his interpretation of God, he responded “the God of Abraham, the same God who Jesus Christ refers to as his father and is one with him.” Defending his stance, Trumbo referred to the Christian religious imagery found in Washington D.C. and the biblical inscriptions and allusions used by the founding fathers.
Trumbo said “It’s all over the place and none of it’s Allah and none of it’s Buddha.”
The biggest problem with Trumbo’s proposal is that he’s wanting to impose his belief system onto those who may not believe similarly. In fact, in order to avoid any situations that could be objectionable to some, “most cities in Washington have chosen to not commence their meetings with an invocation,” says the Association of Washington Cities elected-official handbook.
Despite noting the legal problems associated with Trumbo’s proposal, Brett Harvey insisted that pre-meeting public prayers are “a tradition that has spanned the country and pre-existed before the country.” That’s true, but as more people have come to diversify America over the centuries, that tradition has changed. America is no longer the small cluster of colonies that were homogenized by white, European protestants, and has altered its policies to reflect that.
Trumbo is making a giant mistake by wanting to open council meetings only with Christian-centric prayers. If another person wanted to open with an Islamic prayer, smart money would bet that Trumbo would have staunch objections to that.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.