Reporting Anjali Hemphill
RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Monday’s Rancho Cordova City Council invocation was given by a agnostic minister with the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, as part of a protest against the existence of an invocation.
The meetings in Rancho Cordova have always started the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. In the past, they’ve had several ministers, rabbis and even a Buddhist monk give that prayer.
But Monday’s was the first by an agnostic.
Steve Vincent—who became an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church and listed his affiliation as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster—used Monday’s invocation as a protest against what he sees as city-sanctioned prayer.
“You’re an agenda item on a government meeting, I’m not sure that’s what you had in mind for prayer, God,” he said during the invocation.
He said he was shocked to find out every City Council meeting opened with one. It was a community sponsored day of prayer earlier this year that motivated him even more.
“I know you want us to do what’s right, and to treat our neighbors with respect,” his invocation continued, “so I have to wonder if our nonbelieving neighbors are being respected if we pray here.”
Mayor Linda Budge says state law allows the meeting to begin with a prayer, as long as no one refers to specific faiths.
“We invite everybody of all faiths to come and participate with us,” she said before the meeting. “We will be civil to him, and we expect him to be civil to us.”
Vincent had his supporters at the meeting, and says he sees this as just a start.
“Let’s get Scientologists and Wiccans and everybody to come pray. The more the merrier.”
He doesn’t believe that his invocation will ever eliminate the prayer, but he does want council members to think about whether or not it belongs in a meeting setting.