Cape invocation rules proposed - City council seeks to ban some religious references
(Note: The local atheist and the city council members all apparently slept through any classes they may have had in school about America's Constitution, which does NOT create a "...separation of church and state." Or ... they may have been studying the plank of the Communist Constitution, which DOES do so. Any school kid can figure how prominently and intricately God and His Guidance were, in the founding of America. Apparently, the Cape Coral, Florida, City Council, prefers to enjoy all the perks of living in America while implementing the jackbooted and ironclad rules of Socialism, which, by the way, could scarcely be more poorly named, being totally ANTI-social. Gutting the power of the people at 'city council' meetings is anything BUT American. I am reminded of the old joke: Did you hear about Dial-A-Prayer for atheists? You call a number and Nobody Answers!)
May 8, 2004
The Cape Coral News-Press
Cape Coral, Florida
To submit a Letter to the Editor:
Those giving invocations before a Cape Coral City Council meeting could soon be barred from using such religious references as Jesus Christ, Allah or “our father in heaven.”
Those who stray from the guidelines, quote doctrine or mention a religious holiday may not be asked to give another invocation.
Presenters “shall remind the City Council of the common goal of working for the benefit of the citizens of the City of Cape Coral,” according to the guidelines.
If the guidelines are adopted, people who are not ministers will be able to get on the schedule to offer an invocation, said City Councilwoman Gloria Tate, the sponsor of the resolution containing the guidelines.
The city council is scheduled on Monday to set a public hearing date on the guidelines. A decision to adopt them or not will be made by the council after the public hearing.
Cape Coral resident and atheist Tom Clark asked in February to be scheduled for an invocation.
Clark said the guidelines sound good.
“I think the county should look at this. Our founding fathers went out of their way to make sure we had a secular government and that’s the way it should be,” Clark said. “I'm a firm believer in the separation of church and state.”
But the guidelines make it impossible to present an invocation, said the Rev. Rick Stevens of Calvary Wesleyan Church. He’s scheduled for the invocation at the May 17 council meeting. They seem to be driven by a desire not to offend anyone, he said.
The council probably will show some flexibility, Tate said.
“I can't imagine the council stopping someone in the middle of a prayer for saying Jesus or God or lord,” she said. “That’s why they're called guidelines. That’s how we'd expect people to act, but we don't always get what we want.”
Cape Coral, like Fort Myers, has no written policy for invocations. There are ministers from 12 churches on the Cape’s rotating schedule of presenters.
The Lee County Commission also asks local churches to provide a minister for its invocations.
Non-clergy sometimes are asked to give invocations in Fort Myers.
The Cape guidelines appear more restrictive than those used by the Lee County School District.
The [Lee County School] district permits “universal, all-inclusive terms for the Deity.” While proper names such as Jesus should not be used, the district allows wording such as “Mighty God” or “Source of All Being” to be used. Requests for divine assistance should be excluded, according to the district.
Cape Coral’s guidelines are based on federal court decisions, Tate said.
Cape Coral City Council (Next meeting: Monday, May 10, 2004, 5 PM at 'Council Chambers')
P.O. Box 150027
Cape Coral, Florida 33915-0027
Gloria Raso Tate: firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-477-8345 (District 1)
Richard L. Stevens: email@example.com or 239-542-1457 (District 2)
Alan J. Boyd, Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-945-6665 (District 3)
Paul Asfour: email@example.com or 239-945-6131 (District 4)
Alex LePera: firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-574-6112 (District 5)
Timothy Day: email@example.com or 239-283-9884 (District 6)
Mickey Rosado: firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-458-2074 (District 7)
This from April 12, 2004: