Ignoring legal counsel and concerns about a possible lawsuit, a majority of the Coolidge City Council voted Monday to amend a resolution that would allow prayers before council meetings, including a stipulation that they be Christian.
Council members Steve Hudson, Rob Hudelson, Gary Lewis and Tatiana Murrieta all voted in favor of the Christian-only stipulation to the resolution, which was originally written to include ministers from any faith represented within the city limits. Mayor Jon Thompson and Councilman Gilbert Lopez voted against the amended resolution, with Vice Mayor Jacque Henry absent.
There’s a 30-day review period, and then this becomes the town law. These people better think twice about passing the amendment, though, lest they saddle their small town with enormous legal bills brought by an FFRF or ACLU lawsuit:
Should the resolution become final with the Christian-only stipulation, there is a very real possibility of the city being taken to court. Fitzgibbons referenced the 2014 Supreme Court case Town of Greece v. Galloway, which allowed for prayers at council meetings as long as the prayer did not disparage some faiths, and as long as the opportunity to pray is offered to all faiths.
The little town’s newspaper article is long, so go over and read the whole thing if you hear to read about The Town That Never Learns. You’ll hear about a councilman who said he’d leave the room if somebody said a non-Christian prayer, and about the city’s district attorney advising him that he was within his rights to do that! Another approving city councilman said this: “We just proclaimed Constitution Week. You know what was said at the end of the (Revolutionary) war? A treaty in Paris that said ‘In the name of the most Holy and undivided Trinity.’ You don’t get that from the Quran. You get it from the Bible. You get it from Christianity. That’s our heritage.” [Indeed, the Treaty of Paris does say that, but then the Constitution has the First Amendment.]