A friend sent me the agenda for the January 3 San Juan Capistrano City Council meeting. They drew my attention to item I.5:
As has been reported here and elsewhere, Reeve recently announced his intention to initiate a City Council practice: having guests of various faiths (instead of Councilmembers) perform the invocation at the start of Council meetings.
Here’s how Reeve explains the “situation” regarding this new practice:
Note also that Reeve likely mischaracterizes his colleague's objection when he implies that the issue is the appropriateness "of merely mentioning a deity (Jesus, Allah, etc. [sic]*) during an invocation...." Presumably, his colleague questions the appropriateness of invoking, not merely mentioning, a specific deity, namely, the Christian deity.
Finally (and I offer this with more tentativeness), in his second paragraph, Reeve assumes that it is possible to invoke "the son of our Lord" (i.e., the Christian God) without "proselytizing." That this is a safe assumption is not clear to me. (Is the guest speaker's invocation, under these circumstances, of specifically the Christian God ipso facto an attempt to convert the non-Christian members of the community to Christianity?)
Below is the central section of the Laguna Niguel document:
Naturally, that the Laguna Niguel City Council acted recently to modify their invocation guidelines as they (evidently) did is not an argument for the SJC City Council to do likewise.
The question remains: is it appropriate to permit invocations at SJC City Council meetings that invoke the "Son of our Lord"—i.e., that assume narrowly Christian religiousness?
Presumably, Reeve will respond by directing us to his intention of inviting non-Christian theists also to perform the (an) invocation.
I'm guessing that Reeve's colleague supposes that it would be more appropriate to have each of these guest speakers refer generally to "god"—i.e., to have them avoid invocation to their specific deities. That practice is very common, reflecting, I suppose the judgment (right or wrong) that it is possible to join with those of other faiths in an invocation to "god."
What Reeve seems to have in mind does seem to be a series of non-communal (i.e., sectarian) "community" invocations. It is not clear to me what such a practice could mean to a community.
Perhaps Reeve wishes to celebrate "difference" in the SJC community.
*Surely this crew deserves "et alii," not "et cetera."