Please ask people to apply to give the invocation

I wrote this letter to the editor a couple of years ago when Clay Yarborough was City Council President and Doyle Carter was chaplain:

http://members.jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2014-09-05/story/sundays-lead-letter-prayers-city-council-should-be-more

In the Supreme Court decision, Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Court emphasized that a government’s prayer practice must be “nondiscriminatory” and it must make reasonable efforts to include invocations from all members of the community, regardless of their faith. In fact, the completely open selection process was crucial to the prayers being upheld: “The town at no point excluded or denied an opportunity to a would-be prayer giver. Its leaders maintained that a minister or layperson of any persuasion, including an atheist, could give the invocation.” (Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway, 12-696, 2014 WL 1757828 (U.S. May 5, 2014)) Therefore, excluding a particular faith group from consideration is unconstitutional. (Pelphrey v. Cobb County, 547 F.3d 1263, 1276 (11th Cir. 2008)).

The Supreme Court ruled in Greece v. Galloway that if city councils want to have prayers at government meetings, they need to rotate among all the groups in town.  When Greg Anderson and Lori Boyer were City Council President, they appointed chaplains that did an OK job rotating speakers.

I know some may wonder why it matters.  And I know many think that people should pray with like-minded folks rather than as a public display at a government meeting where people of various faiths are in attendance.

However, I think the invocation period could be used to help to make the various groups within our city feel welcome.  So in my view, it makes sense that the current chaplain (Doyle Carter) should want to reach out to the minority groups.

Quote from President Bush’s recent speech (LINK ) about the need for leadership:

This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. (Applause.)

And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.

We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

If you know anyone (especially someone from a minority group) that is willing to give the invocation at a city council meeting, please ask them to contact Doyle Carter.   You can email him at doylec@coj.net.   If he refuses to put a speaker on the schedule from your group, please consider letting the watch group know at this link:

https://au.org/get-involved/report-a-violation/form

How to apply to give the invocation from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2018

If you know anyone that wants to give the invocation at a city council meeting, my understanding is that they just need to email Doyle Carter’s office at DoyleC@coj.net

Forward:
Thank you for your e-mail expressing your concerns, and for sharing the comments regarding the 2015 petitions. I have delegated the City Council Chaplain responsibility to Council Member Doyle Carter through my appointment of him to such position, and I trust that he will do a great job in such capacity. It appears that Council Member Carter is welcoming your suggestions regarding having invocations from diverse groups, including offering names and contact information of individuals.
Sincere regards,
Anna Lopez Brosche
Council Member At-Large Group 1
Office of the City Council

How to apply to be an invocation speaker from July 2016 to June 2017

Excerpt from an email I received from the assistant to the current city council president:

I appreciate you inquiring about the City of Jacksonville’s invocation policy.  Council President Boyer has selected Council Member Joyce Morgan to serve as the Council Chaplain this year.  In this role, Council Member Morgan is tasked with ensuring that a variety of faiths and beliefs are scheduled to offer the legislative invocation.  All religious denominations are welcome to apply to give the invocation by contacting Council Member Joyce Morgan’s office at 630.1389 or joycemorgan@coj.net.

The Chaplain of the City Council emailed me that they are looking for minority religions to give the invocation

From: “Love, James” <JimLove@coj.net>
Date: September 15, 2015 at 9:56:51 PM EDT
To: Susan
Cc: “Kuzel, Kevin” <KKuzel@coj.net>
Susan, we did reach out to the Rabbi and we will reach out to other minority religions.  Thank you for your input.
Sincerely,Jim Love

City Councilman, District 14

JimLove@coj.net

One City, One Jacksonville
On Sep 15, 2015, at 12:05 PM, Susan wrote:
Honorable Council Member Jim Love,

I understand that you’re chaplain for the city council.  I understand you have been given the task of trying to show case the diversity of our lovely city during the invocation period at the city council meetings.

I notice that all but one speaker (on the list) is Christian.  I do hope you’ll accept applications from the minority religions and the non-religious.

We have Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Humanists, Unitarians, etc in our community.  I do hope your office will reach out to the minority religions that might be too intimated to apply.

Thanks,

Susan

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Krieg, Leeann <LKrieg@coj.net>
Date: Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 10:23 AM
Subject: FW: INVOCATION – CITY COUNCIL MTG. 9/08/15

Susan,

Good morning. Thank you for your consistent interest and attention to this matter. I have attached the schedule for the year as it stands. Council Member Jim Love and his assistant Kevin Kuzel handle/manage the list and the submissions. A constituent does not have to be from the Council Member’s district to submit and offer to participate in the invocation. The thought was that opening it to submissions sent to your District or At-Large Council Member would allow a wide representation of the city and the faiths in the city.

These requests may also be submitted to Council Member Love’s office as the Chaplin.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

All the best,

LEEANN M. KRIEG

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO GREG B. ANDERSON

CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

117 W. DUVAL STREET, STE. 425

7/28/15 Jim Love Council Chaplain Baptist

8/11/15 Rev. Brett Foster Riverside Baptist Ch.Baptist
8/25/15 Rev. Jason Cullum Christ’s Church Christian
9/08/15 Rev. Sam Pascoe Jax Anglican
9/22/15 Pastor Mark Griffin Wayman Ministries Methodist
10/13/15 REV. MORGAN BROWNING / 1st BAPTIST CH.
10/27/15 Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr. Bethel Baptist
11/10/15 Rabbi Yaakov Fisch ETZ Chaim Synagogue

11/24/15 Bishop Estevez Diocese of St. Augustine Catholic
12/08/15 Rev. Tom Messer (Pastor) / Trinity Baptist
1/12/16 Fr. Sal Di Fazio (Pastor) St. Paul’s Catholic

Update on how to apply to give the invocation at the Jacksonville City Council meetings

The below is the executive assistant to Greg Anderson’s reply to my inquiry:

Good morning. Thank you for your consistent interest and attention to this matter. Council Member Jim Love and his assistant Kevin Kuzel handle/manage the list and the submissions. A constituent does not have to be from the Council Member’s district to submit and offer to participate in the invocation. The thought was that opening it to submissions sent to your District or At-Large Council Member would allow a wide representation of the city and the faiths in the city.These requests may also be submitted to Council Member Love’s office as the Chaplin.