I received the following comment from an anonymous person who seems against having prayer spoken at our city council meetings...
I was watching the U tube video on the new Menifee city council meeting. I was really shocked that they included a prayer. Are we going to be a city or a local club! I believe that if we are a bonified city - we should have separation of church & state. No prayer can cover all the beliefs of the new citizens of Menifee. I have been to other cities council meetings - and they do not pray.Here's my take on this...
The new city council should respect the beliefs of all the citizens of Menifee and omit the prayer.
I think the prayers that John Denver has been saying at the start of each meeting is just fine. First, these prayers are not endorsed by the council, because none of the council members have voted to officially endorse them. These are not official city prayers.
Second, no one is being to forced the bow their heads and say, "Amen", when Denver says a prayer. You just need to afford every American some respect when they express their religious beliefs. Everyone has a belief of some kind, whether it's a belief in God, a belief that there is nothing, or even if they'd like to believe but don't know what. If you were to express that thought in public, you'd want your space and time to do so also.
The commenter also brought up "respect", and all I can say is that respect is a two-way street. If you want someone to respect you, you have to respect them. I'm sure if you recognize Denver's wishes to express his religious beliefs, he'll recognize yours.
Lastly, this commenter brought up the subject of "Separation of Church and State". I'll challenge that person to find this statement in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, or any other federal document. It simply doesn't exist.
That statement was made by Thomas Jefferson, while he was President, in a letter that he wrote to a church, promising them that the United States would not endorse any church as its official state church.
For that matter, the City Council, and the City of Menifee, is not endorsing Denver's prayers as being official. They're simply recognizing his First Amendment rights. Every Menifee resident can do the same thing, by using their three minutes of public comment. Denver gets the priviledge of doing this at the start of the council meeting because he earned that priviledge on election day.