The City of Reno government begins Public City Council meetings by offering a minute of silence, a respected moment for quiet thought, prayer, or meditation. However, another petition has recently been floated in Reno calling instead for religious invocations.
We consider this to be completely unnecessary, serving no particular purpose and alienating the large proportion of Nevadans who are not religious, or simply do not see the need for prayer in matters of the City Council.
The First Amendment is but one sentence long and the United Sates Supreme Court has ruled that sectarian invocations violate the First Amendment to the US Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Further to this, a Supreme Court decision is expected in June 2014 regarding a high-profile case about town council prayer in Greece, New York (Town of Greece v. Galloway). Therefore we propose that any decision of adding prayer to Reno City Council meetings should at least wait until then.
Reno City Council, please consider our community’s request, signed by a variety of religious, spiritual, and secular Reno residents, to keep religion out of city council meetings.