Should the chair of the city council meeting be doing the opening invocation?

I’m just asking the question. I have never seen the chair (mayor) do the opening prayer before until last night. In Paul’s defense, the pastor that was supposed to do it didn’t show or call (that was weird) and maybe Paul doesn’t know procedure, but a foot soldier said this to me in an email this morning;

I found it very insulting and crossing the line when the new young mayor crossed the secular line by giving the invocation at the meeting. The leader of the event must NEVER cause the subtle inference of mixing religion and government. It is just not done. NEVER.

Well, I wasn’t that offended, but I did think it was strange. In the past city councilors have done the invocation, but never the chair. Maybe Paul should have asked one of them to do it? Either way, I could care less if they do it or not. The deist, Ben Franklin, who created the invocation did it to calm the nerves of the lawmakers before a meeting, it had nothing to do with religion. These days, I don’t think it is working that well anyway. Maybe a 10 second time of silence and deep breaths would go further.



22 comments ↓

#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 06.13.18 at 11:03 am

So a member of the “Dutch Mafia” did the invocation, huh?

#2 D@ily Spin on 06.13.18 at 11:16 am

It doesn’t seem controversial. However, there was once morning prayer in school and there’s not now. Perhaps there should be no invocation. To calm everyone, how about shots of tequila instead. Church doesn’t belong in government like government doesn’t belong in church.

#3 anonymous on 06.13.18 at 11:19 am

There is a steep learning curve for many elected officials.

Paul TenHaken is no longer self-employed.

He now has 175,000+ constituents he reports to.

At a Council meeting, where discussion of decorum is the heated topic of the night, we have a Mayor who:

Mixes politics and religion

Does not wear a tie

And, is in his Converse sneakers.

Past time to step up to the plate, Mr. TenHaken.

#4 D@ily Spin on 06.13.18 at 11:21 am

When public comment gets moved to the end of council meetings, will there be 37 people taking a knee during the pledge of allegiance?

#5 Matt Staab on 06.13.18 at 12:21 pm

Back in the old City Commission days if a pastor did not show one of the Commissioners or the Mayor gave the invocation. It worked well and back then people’s feelings weren’t so easily hurt.

#6 Matthew Paulson on 06.13.18 at 12:53 pm

This is totally not worth a blog post. The expected pastor didn’t show up, so Paul filled in. Who cares? Nobody but the South DaCola Footsoldiers, apparently.

You guys make yourself look so much less credible to the rest of the public when you complain over nit picky things like

#7 "Very Stable Genius" on 06.13.18 at 1:03 pm

Matt,

When you were on the Commission, we also didn’t have Republicans running for governor, who had supporters claiming, “…he’s a Christian,” however.

It was a different time now, with all due respect, and given the politics of the Donald of Orange, a current Mayor who skips a diversity debate and now the Pride event this weekend, the last thing we need is a politician who promotes a religion over others or in offense to those who are not of faith, yet all citizens of this town…

#8 l3wis on 06.13.18 at 1:48 pm

MP – Don’t take issue with it, I was just throwing the question out there to see what other people think or the protocol is. I usually stand for the invocation, but I really don’t pay attention to the dogma blathering. The ironic part is I actually enjoy the invocation with the pastor has something personal to say from the heart instead of reading scripture.

#9 D@ily Spin on 06.13.18 at 2:39 pm

I’d rather TenHaken dress somewhat casual than wear a Gotti uniform like Godfather Huether. There’s no dress code. His attire is popular and fashionable. What I saw was a comfortable man ready to conduct public business.

#10 l3wis on 06.13.18 at 2:45 pm

I agree DS, I could care less. As long as they are not wearing a tank top and visor. You should see how they dress in some of the other towns and counties across the state. I have a friend who is the county auditor in a small county about 100 miles from SF. She was telling me the attire of the county commission to me one time at their meetings. Let’s just say Paul dresses like he is going to the Grammys compared to what they were wearing.

#11 l3wis on 06.13.18 at 2:47 pm

We should consider ourselves lucky we don’t have a boot scrape in front of Carnegie.

#12 Peter "mega" Pischke on 06.13.18 at 2:51 pm

The Invocation being given by an elected official in no way constitutes breaking the secular wall between church and state.

If he does this every week, even when someone else is supposed to do it (and shows up) perhaps then we can have this conversation.

But as of right now, Tenhaken is alright.

#13 "Very Stable Genius" on 06.13.18 at 3:02 pm

But Peter, if it is alright, then why isn’t it alright every week?

As far as a dress code, I hate dress codes, but you should have your own dress code though that shows respect for the office as Mayor.

His dress style, and attitude towards its, I am afraid, matches his often smirk….

#14 SD Vet on 06.13.18 at 3:52 pm

He stepped up as he recognized a need at the last minute instead of asking another to do it and imposing on someone who might be unprepared. Most fair observers would see that as a favorable characteristic and something a thoughtful leader would do.

#15 l3wis on 06.13.18 at 3:55 pm

SD Vet, I would agree.

#16 D@ily Spin on 06.13.18 at 5:59 pm

4 councilors need to get out more. Our world involves everyone with a voice. The mayor should have gaveled a few. He didn’t. I don’t have an impression yet. What seemed obvious is a few antiquated councilors will get often outvoted. I was impressed that business leaders showed up and advocated keeping public comment as is. There will be less provocation with Huether gone. Speakers (like me) were those abused by prejudicial city harassment. There should be fewer of us. What councilors should realize is Public Comment can be important subjects.

#17 "Very Stable Genius" on 06.13.18 at 6:52 pm

Th. Jefferson said there should be a wall between church and state….

#18 Warren Phear on 06.13.18 at 7:30 pm

Invocation by mayor in a pinch? No big deal. But, when city conference rooms are going to be used for after hours city employee bible studies…then it becomes a big deal.

#19 Matthew Paulson on 06.13.18 at 9:46 pm

l3wis – The mere fact that there are 18 comments on this thread tell me that your foot soldiers have their priorities out of order. Complaining about non-issues like this (or giving voice to those that are complaining) makes your people look seem credible when serious issues arise.

May you just need to tell “Very Stable Genius” and “Warren Phear” that somethings aren’t worth picking a fight over.

Learn to pick your battles people.

#20 "Very Stable Genius" on 06.13.18 at 9:54 pm

Today it’s a “pinch,” but then tomorrow it becomes protocol….

#21 reader on 06.14.18 at 9:36 am

wonder if anyone has ever mentioned to matthew paulson that he sounds a bit self-righteous

#22 Warren Phear on 06.14.18 at 6:26 pm

MP, there is no place for after hours, city employee bible study sessions, chaired by the mayor, on publicly owned property. Want to test it? Go for it.

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