Indio, California Mayor Lupe Ramos Watson (below) has made the unusual (but welcome) decision to eliminate invocation prayers from city council meetings:
[Ramos Watson] is forgoing an invocation because she does not believe that prayer-like practice is appropriate for a government meeting.
“Members of the community reached out to me and told me that they felt excluded during the invocation,” said Ramos Watson, who made a similar decision when she was mayor in 2011.
“In absence of a city law regarding the matter, I chose not to have it.”
“We need to respect all beliefs and absence of beliefs” Ramos Watson said. “It is my priority to follow the law within my decision.”
What’s even more unusual is that Ramos Watson is a Republican.
The decision isn’t final. Another city council member is opposing her decision and they’re discussing the invocations with their attorney. As we know by now, though, if they ultimately go with having invocations, then any group — atheist, Satanist, Muslim, etc — must be allowed to deliver them.
They’re better off keeping that door shut.