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City served with prayer lawsuit

Paul Clinton

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.


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