City Government

Boise Christians Oppose Hindu Prayer

The Mayor’s Hotline got a bunch of calls this past week protesting a Hindu Cleric offering an invocation at the June 8 City Council meeting. (check the transcript posted below).

Not much tolerance among these Christian folk in a community that strives to be “the most livable city in America.” We have to side up with Team Dave at the office of Mayor Dave Bieter on this one. With 17% of the population being of a culture other than Anglo-Saxon, it is appropriate to hear from a Hindu–or any other faith.

City Clerk told the GUARDIAN they actually have trouble getting ANY religious cleric to offer invocations at the weekly council meetings. She said they go through the phone book soliciting ALL faiths and often as not the city clerk assigned to the council meeting ends playing preacher.

Rajan Zed, The Hindu scheduled to deliver the June 8 prayer, contacted the city and made the offer. He bills himself as “President of the Universal Society of Hinduism.” With that billing he certainly will have an above average turnout at City Council.

UPDATE 5/20–Oh what hath the gods wrought! Take a look at HINDU PRESS. Looks like the Boise City Council is getting used for a publicity stunt. This time not by a railroad, but a cleric. Wonder of Alan Sheely will keep his eyes open.


A Hindu Prayer was said as the council met
And it has caused many a Christian to fret
God is still their guide
Let’s be on their side
The council needs all the help it can get!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I personally find the comment of the City Clerk to be unbelieveable. I am sure there are scores of clery in the area that would be delighted to present an invocation at the City Council meetings.

  2. I’m upset that the city council feels a a religious invocation is even necessary, tho they do get props for being open to all faiths. As to the people who called in offended about the Hindu prayer – stuff it. Christians are not persecuted in the least in this country; that notion is a pure fabrication, and anyone who repeats it is lying, and they know it.

  3. Why not? We haven’t heard much bad press about Hindu leaders and boyscouts.

  4. Silly Christians, trix are for kids!

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    May 19, 2010, 9:43 pm

    The City Council should not have an invocation from ANY religion.

  6. Now Zippo, that was funny!
    Rod, just chill a bit. Even liberals may profess christianity.
    Try reading the building inscriptions over the congress of these United States or maybe the supreme court!

  7. Why on Earth does a prayer need to be said at all during a city council meeting? Religion has nothing to do with city planning. People are free to pray on their own time.

  8. anonymous on this one
    May 20, 2010, 7:14 am

    I agree with Timm! and Rod, no religious invocation at city hall should be allowed. If we had to accommodate every religion at every meeting how much time would be left to do city business?

    And what’s this fascination with diversity? Diversity is not some kind of panacea nor is it a magic wand. For those who haven’t read it, try this:

    The Downside of Diversity

  9. Porcupine Picayune
    May 20, 2010, 7:21 am

    I Love Jesus…

    It’s most of his purported followers I’d like to throw under a slow moving bus!

    A Hindu Morning Prayer…

    May all in this world be happy,
    may they be healthy,
    may they be comfortable
    and never miserable.

    May the rain come down in the proper time,
    may the earth yield plenty of corn,
    may the country be free from war,
    may the Brahmans be secure.

  10. Karen,
    While I don’t know the clerk, or what their process is, why would one lie about not being able to get an individual to perform an invocation prayer for the Council? If you know of these scores of cleric that would perform such, I am sure they would love it if you contacted them to help them out.

    As for the Hindu prayer, I think it is great. If they are going to participate in an invocation, then it should be open for any and all, and I am happy to see that it is.

  11. diane sower
    May 20, 2010, 9:12 am

    If it’s a tradition to have a prayer at these meetings, then every religion should be allowed to do so. One could take an example of the yearly ecumenical service at St. John’s Cathedral, where we see Hindu’s, Islam, Buddha, Mormon, Protestant, and more participating in songs and events to promote the common good in all of the community. I also consider welcoming atheists as a part of the common good of the community, since we share space and attempt to live in peace.

  12. diane sower
    May 20, 2010, 9:17 am

    For Timm: Man you are right about Christians receiving no persecution. It depends on the level of Christianity you are talking about. Evangelicals are dangerously pushing elections in ways that cause supreme court justices to be appointed, and allowed to make decisions on their own personal beliefs. Just ask attorneys who have argued before them. I am a liberal Christian who, in past years, was asked to leave a congregation because of my political beliefs. If anyone is doing persecuting, some of the oober right wing Christians are Claiming Jesus for themselves and persecuting others.

  13. Jason Walker
    May 20, 2010, 9:21 am

    Time to start practicing my Pastafarian invocation. Anyone have a pirate costume I could borrow?

  14. Timm has hit the very essence of separation of church and state. Why would anyone in support of our constitution want a religious invocation at any city council or BOCC meeting?

    We all have a right to “freedom from religion”. I hope all this brings a screeching halt to these invocations.

    I can’t imagine god would really care about these meetings even if SHE had the time or inclination.

  15. Grumpy ole guy
    May 20, 2010, 6:28 pm

    Hey, they are all just birds of prey.

  16. I am not drawing any conclusions, but the power went out in Boise City Hall yesterday shortly after this story broke. The city attorney’s office was the only one spared!

  17. Paul – It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

    I’ll cast my vote for dumping the invocation though.

  18. Dean Gunderson
    May 21, 2010, 8:24 pm

    Since the issue at hand is really the Establishment Clause, barring government from establishing a central state religion, I would be for setting aside the Invocation (since the invocation teeters on placing a religious rite central to the civic business at hand — implying that government can’t run without the blessing conferred by a pastor, priest, or guru).

    But, there have been many times before a public hearing when it has been a comfort to hear (usually in the prayers offered) that the meeting’s purpose is to find the “good” in the meeting — and to strive to understand that well-intentioned people can honestly disagree about an issue, without being disagreeable.

    I would offer that it’s better to be reminded of this (when tempers are hot), than to simply charge into the middle of an issue without that reflective moment.

    When a politician does the reminding it sounds like he’s chiding the public, but when a neutral, respected member of the community does this (and this is more often than not a religious leader) the folks at the hearing tend to actually listen and take the message to heart.

    Why not open the “invocation” period up to any member of the community that can be “neutral and compassionate” about the ensuing hearing — and, who can offer inspiring words? God, or God’s presence, does not even need to be part of the words spoken.

    I know it’s easier to just pick pastors’ names out of the hat, but is a prayer really what we’re all needing at that moment? And by having a non-clergy member of the public offer an invocation (just as the clerk sometimes does now), does it rob a more devote citizen’s opportunity to offer up their own prayer?

  19. untamedshrew
    May 21, 2010, 8:33 pm

    Hey Don! Freeom OF religion refers to the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment. There’s a second part that actually does provide freedom FROM religion when government action is involved. It’s referred to as the Establishment Clause. Check it out.

  20. Does government really need Jesus or any other god as a co-pilot? The track record is not too hot.

  21. Untamedshrew – That’s a very narrow albeit popular view of the establishment clause. Most feel that it bars the government from declaring or supporting a national religion. The wall that lets no religion in has never existed and was never intended by the founders. For proof of that all you need to know is the First Congress that proposed the Bill of Rights opened with a prayer and designated money for Christian ministries in Native American lands.

    None of that changes my feelings that it’s not needed and appears to be wasting the City Clerk’s time hunting for clergy to give a prayer for each meeting.

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