SHAFAQNA (Shia international Association) — Hindus, Jews and Buddhists have urged Santa Clara City Council to move to multi-faith opening prayers.
Currently, Santa Clara City Council meetings, held at least two times per month on Tuesday evenings, open with the same following invocation prayer, which had been read for over 25 years by the annually-appointed Councilmember: “Oh heavenly father on high we humbly seek thy blessings upon this meeting. Grant us strength, courage and will to perform our obligations and duties to our people with justice to all. Grant us wisdom so that we may act wisely and for the best interests of our people, our neighbors and our country. All this we ask in thy name, who reigns the world without end.”
Prominent Jewish leader in Western USA Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and distinguished Buddhist leader Reverend Jikai’ Phil Bryan, in a joint statement today, said that since Santa Clara City Council represented all residents irrespective of religion/denomination, it was quite befitting in this increasingly diverse city to do a rotation of prayers representing major religions and Native American spirituality.
Rabbi Beyer, Zed and Rev. Bryan argued that we all knew that religion comprised much more than our own particular tradition/experience. In our shared pursuit for the truth, we could learn from one another and thus could arrive nearer to the truth.
Moreover, City of Santa Clara should act on its award-winning self-developed Code of Ethics & Values, which clearly stated “extend equal opportunities”; Rabbi Beyer, Rajan Zed and Rev. Bryan pointed out.
Meanwhile, City of Santa Clara has refused Rajan Zed’s request to read the Hindu invocation or a Hindu prayer supplied by him to be read by the assigned City Councilmember in the City Council meeting.
Zed’s queries “Is there a process to change this practice of reading the same prayer each time and instead replace it with reading prayers from different religions/denominations?” and “Is there currently any consideration to change the existing invocation set-up?” have also yielded “No” answers from the City.
Santa Clara, incorporated in 1852, is home to multinational semiconductor chip maker Intel, Santa Clara University, NFL football team San Francisco 49ers and is habitat for the burrowing owl. City has won an All-America City award and was honored in a White House Ceremony. Jamie L. Matthews, Lisa M. Gillmor and Ronald E. Garratt are Mayor, Vice Mayor and Interim City Manager respectively.—www.shafaqna.com/english