During the 2017-2018 City Council year, Doyle Carter has invited mostly Baptists to give the invocation. Here is a link to the list of invocation speakers for the 2017-2018 City Council year: https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/category/invocations-and-jacksonville-information/who-has-given-the-invocation-this-year/
I have asked Doyle Carter repeatedly about his selection process. My question went unanswered.
If Doyle Carter runs for another office, please keep in mind that he did not answer my question asking him how he selects invocation speakers. I was told by City Council President Anna Brosche that Carter volunteered for the position of chaplain. Why is he refusing to tell us how he selects the invocation speakers? Is that the kind of elected official you want in office? Do you want to elect someone who won’t tell his constituents how he conducts the job he has volunteered to do?
The Jacksonville City Council has an invocation forum which is supposed to be open to the public. The Greece v Galloway U.S. Supreme Court decision is clear when it comes to invocations at City Council meetings. If the Jacksonville City Council opens the forum to the public, then it must be open to all voices. In other words, you don’t get to pick and choose whom you accept and whom you refuse. When you ignore a Jacksonville citizen or an entire subset of Jacksonville citizens attempting to participate in this public forum, you are essentially saying to that person or persons their beliefs or their invocations are not welcome in their own community. It’s prejudicial and unconstitutional, but it is also unkind and unfair.
The City Council President can appoint a chaplain. The chaplain is in charge of appointing invocation speakers. The City Council President (and hence the President’s appointees) changes every year. I hope future City Council Presidents will appoint chaplains who do not have a goal of excluding people from the invocation period.
IF someone has the belief that all prayers need to include the words “in Jesus’s name we pray” and if they also believe no one should be allowed to give the invocation (out loud at the podium at a government meeting) unless they agree to say those words, then this person is NOT someone who should be appointed as chaplain. Here is a quote from past City Council President Clay Yarborough:
“The scripture teaches that unless one prays in the name of Jesus Christ, and since he is our only way to the Father, that is how one should pray. And that is what I believe.”
That quote can be found at this link: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/inquisition-in-jacksonville-religious-right-grills-muslim-nominee-for When Yarborough became City Council President, he appointed Doyle Carter to be Chaplain. During that 2014-2015 City Council year, only Doyle Carter and Kimberly Daniels gave the invocation. They both always said the words “in Jesus’ Name We Pray” during the invocation period. Many people spoke during the public comment period about the practice of not inviting the entire community to have the opportunity to speak during the invocation period. Here is a link to one of those 3 minute public comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Facp1ckvJAA
During the 2015-2016 City Council year, a Humanist’s request to give the invocation was accepted. Here is the link to his invocation at the city council meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyoD4__nfZ0&t=14s
During the 2016-2017 City Council year, there was more diversity as seen on the list at this link: https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2016/07/31/invocation-speakers-july-2016-to-june-2017-for-jacksonville-city-council-meetings/
BUT during the 2017-2018 City Council year, Doyle Carter has invited mostly Baptists to give the invocation. Here is a link to the list of invocation speakers for the 2017-2018 City Council year: https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/category/invocations-and-jacksonville-information/who-has-given-the-invocation-this-year/ Please note that it is one Catholic and the rest Protestants and mostly Baptists. Why didn’t Carter invite speakers from other religions? Why did he volunteer for a job that he didn’t want to properly perform?
Here is a copy of my emails where I asked Carter about his policy:
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, Apr 9, 2018
To: “Carter, Doyle” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Brosche, Anna” <ABROSCHE@coj.net>, “Gabriel, Jason” <JGabriel@coj.net>
Honorable Doyle Carter,
The list that you sent me did not include the date that the speakers applied. IF you do NOT keep track of that, please let me know. IF you did keep track of it, please provide me that information under the rules of 119 or the Florida Statutes. Specifically I have these questions:
1. Do you put people on the schedule as they apply? If yes, was the list that you provided me in order of when people applied?
2. Do you put people on a list of people applying with no indication of the date they applied? If yes, how do you pick who will be on the schedule?
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2018
Council Member Carter— Thank you for the list (attached). I had hoped that it would include the dates that people contacted you requesting to be put on the list and the method by which they contacted you. Would you please include that information? How do you make your choices? Do you put people on the list as they call (or email) with the date of contact?
Concerned citizen that loves our First Amendment