CIVIC CENTER -- Burbank has been served.
Jewish activist Irv Rubin formally presented his 1st Amendment lawsuit
at the City Council meeting Tuesday. The suit seeks to abolish the prayer
that begins each session of that legislative body.
Burbank attorneys now have 30 days to formally respond to the suit.
Rubin, the national chairman of the Jewish Defense League, filed his
suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. He said a Nov. 23
invocation that referenced Jesus Christ was tantamount to the city
singling out Christianity over other religions and violated the 1st
Amendment of the Constitution.
“I’m not here to mess with anybody’s religion,” Rubin said.
“Exclusivity is not a feature of this great land.”
Burbank City Atty. Dennis Barlow has strenuously disagreed with
Rubin’s contention. Barlow and other city officials said it would be
unconstitutional to regulate what is said during the invocation.
On Tuesday, Mayor Stacey Murphy responded to Rubin’s contention that
he was being excluded from participating in council meetings.
“Everybody is welcome in these chambers,” Murphy said. “It is much
more inclusionary than exclusionary here.”
The city’s policy has been to offer an open invitation to all
religious groups to offer the prayer. The city does not pick the group.
That job goes to the Burbank Ministerial Association.
Earlier in the evening, Pastor John Dally from Faith Church of the
Nazarene didn’t show up to deliver the invocation. With Rubin eagerly
watching, Councilman Bob Kramer stepped in to give the prayer.
Rubin later congratulated Kramer for not mentioning Christ.