|Reeve first attracted attention last summer when he urged the|
City Council to allow citizens to carry guns at city parks
Council: Don't Invoke Deity Names (San Juan Capistrano Patch)
From now on, the prayers that kick off San Juan Capistrano City Council meetings will come from council members only and be nonsectarian.
Prayers said before City Council meetings will now be rotated just among council members and must remain nonsectarian, the council decided Tuesday in a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Derek Reeve opposed..Mr. Reeve, who, despite his rich history as a plagiarist, is also an adjunct instructor at Saddleback College, caused the larger of these controversies when he joked, during a City Council meeting, that he had named one of his dogs “Muhammad.”
“I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ,” said Councilman John Taylor. “I don’t have a problem with someone saying his name. But other people might.”
Reeve raised the issue on what should and shouldn't be said during an invocation after a guest he brought in to pray at the December meeting was criticized by other council members for mentioning the “Son.”
Typically, council members take turns giving the invocation. But Reeve said he wanted to give his turn to various members of the community of differing faiths, as a way to reach out after the council found itself caught up in recent controversies involving religion.
Reeve is, of course, ignoring atheists and agnostics, of which there are many in SJC.
Reeve said he instructed resident Gary Stache, a leader in the Vineyard Community Church in Laguna Niguel, not to say the name Jesus or proselytize. But when Stache ended the prayer in the “name of the Son,” Councilman Sam Allevato became upset, leading to this week’s discussion.
Kramer: "We're not a church...."
Reeve prefers the idea of rotating people of different faiths to do the invocations, he said.
“All religions should be encouraged. They all have one thing in common, and that is faith, the faith that tomorrow will be a better day,” he said.
“I’ve been on a lot of boards. I go to a lot of meetings,” said Allevato. “It’s always kept nondenominational, and that’s what I’m comfortable with.”See also New gun law shoots down San Juan tradition (OC Reg)
He added that mentioning a deity could make some feel “disenfranchised.”
Resident Steve Behmerwohld urged the council to do away with invocation altogether.
“I think you do a good job. I don’t think you need divine intervention,” he said.
The council did vote to keep the prayers, but they must not call upon the name of any specific deity.
“We’re not a church here,” [Mayor Larry] Kramer said. “We’re a public institution. We should act like one.”