The Arroyo Grande City Council voted 3 to 2 last night to end invocations at city council meetings and replace them with a moment of silence. The vote came after public comments by members of Atheists United, San Luis Obispo (AUSLO), a number of whom were residents of Arroyo Grande.
AU-SLO board member David Leidner told the council that they had a “golden opportunity to ensure fairness” by ending all invocations. “This is the best option not because it favors our interests or anyone else’s,” he said, “but because it does just the opposite. It is the most neutral and inclusive position to take.”
The city council’s reconsideration of their existing invocation policy was sparked by a request from AU-SLO to start giving invocations at Arroyo Grande city council meetings. AU-SLO’s request was in response to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling
allowing sectarian invocations at government meetings. Voting in favor of replacing invocations with a moment of silence were Mayor Hill, Mayor Pro-Tem Barneich, and Councilman Guthrie. They said they wanted to avoid the complication of trying to accommodate all invocation requests and the risk of alienating or offending meeting attendees. Voting in opposition to the change were Council Members Brown and Harmon. The council meeting minutes and video can be viewed at http://www.arroyogrande.org/AgendaCenter/CityCouncil-8
Atheists United, San Luis Obispo is a non-profit community organization with over 300 hundred members county-wide. For more information, visit www.AUSLO.org