But if a city council must do so, a policy like the one adopted by the city of Lodi, California, is the least offensive option. I couldn't find a copy of the bylaws online, but it is quoted in multiple other sources as requiring that opening prayers be "non-sectarian and non-denominational". In other words, no "In Jesus' name" or any other particular deity. Simple, right?
Apparently not. According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, out of 55 archived videos of Lodi City Council (LCC) meetings, 39 of the opening prayers specifically included references to Jesus. For "non-sectarian" prayers, that's an awful lot of Jesus! So FFRF asked the LCC to actually, y'know, enforce their policy on prayers at the meetings, under threat of litigation.
And that, apparently, was a terrible! affront! to an organization of self-righteous religious fuckwits known as the the Pray In Jesus' Name Project (be warned: there is enough spin on that site to leave you dizzy for a month). So they protested outside the LCC meeting this Wednesday, singing hymns and praying. Because somehow, refusing to use the name of their particular holy dude is persecution, according to several of the protestors (via):
"It's becoming harder and harder for the Christians."
"Christians are the silent majority and eventually we have to stop being silent and stand up for our faith."
Oh, you poor, poor things, having 75% of the country identify as your religion, having most of your holy days as government-mandated national holidays, having a President at all times who shares some flavor of your religion! That must be absolutely terrible! How dare we uppity non-Christians (and reasonable Christians) try to say you can't force a secular government body to pray to your particular holy dude! It must be so awful for you, having to consider that there may be people around you who don't believe what you do. So it's getting harder to...what, exactly? It's getting harder to impose your religious beliefs without challenge and with the backing of the government? You are so, so oppressed.
If that's oppression, well...we should all be so oppressed.