After a five-month period of silence, the heavens will again be called upon to open Salt Lake City Council meetings after May 3.
"That's the night we get the budget. It might be an appropriate time . . ." said Council Chairman Tom Godfrey.The council dropped invocations from their meetings in November, after receiving legal advice that prayergivers should be encouraged to offer non-denominational prayers. At that time, Salt Lake Police Chaplain Max Yospe, head of a volunteer group that offered prayers at council meetings, said asking Christians to offer non-denominational prayers violated their constitutional rights of expression.
"For me, the issue has never been whether we should or should not have invocations, because I think we should," said Councilman Alan Hardman. "The issue is or should be whether those who give the invocation represent a broad cross-section of the community."
Now Yospe has agreed to keep a record of prayer invitations. That will show the American Civil Liberties Union that invitations have been extended throughout the community.
Robyn Blumner, executive director of the Utah ACLU office, has urged legislative bodies to make an affirmative effort for diversity in prayers so as not to violate the Constitution. She said when only one viewpoint is articulated every week in prayers offered at government meetings, it appears to be an indoctrination.