Prayers at council meetings challenged

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Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:54 am | Updated: 12:31 pm, Thu Aug 4, 2011.

For as long as could be remembered, Sand Springs city councilors have been starting their meetings with a prayer.

That custom is being challenged by a man who charges that the prayers violate the U.S. Constitution.

Local resident Beau McElhattan sent an email to Mayor Mike Burdge and the rest of the city council saying that the prayers are exclusionary. McElhattan asked that the city respond by Aug. 5 with what steps they would take to make sure that "citizens of all faiths or of no faith will be represented equally when it comes to invocations at council meetings."

McElhattan is originally from Sand Springs and currently lives in Tulsa, he said.

The problem, said Rebecca Markert, an attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization devoted to promoting a separation of church and state in American life, is that Sand Springs councilors "have a practice of sectarian prayers going on."

McElhattan contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation about the matter.

Many Sand Springs City Council meeting prayers, delivered by various councilors, have at times invoked God or Jesus Christ specifically.

"We all need to live together," McElhattan said. "I don't think it's the government's place to endorse one religion over another like that."

Markert said in a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Marsh V. Chambers, the court upheld that governmental prayers were permissible so long as they were nonsectarian or nondenominational. The invocation of specific deities violates the guidelines of Marsh V. Chambers, Markert said.

That Supreme Court decision revolved around Nebraska's opening of legislative sessions with a prayer delivered by a chaplain.

Sand Springs City Attorney David Weatherford said Marsh V. Chambers "clearly upholds the right to have opening prayer at meetings."

It's up to the individual councilors to pray how they want, Weatherford said. He said such prayers did not mean the city was exclusionary to people of other faiths or no faith.

"One individual council member praying is not dictating a policy," Weatherford said.

Mayor Mike Burdge said there was a longtime tradition of governments opening with prayer.

"The city council has done this as long as I've been here," Burdge said.

McElhattan said the city council should focus purely on the secular work of running the city government, and keep their prayers private.

Markert said council members or the public could pray individually if they wanted to, but when a prayer becomes part of a government meeting, "that's problematic.

"As the country becomes more diverse, these prayers are becoming more and more problematic," Markert said.

Weatherford said the city wanted to be sensitive to people of all faiths. He said the city would review options and see if they should do anything differently. He did not yet know the next steps as of deadline Tuesday.

Burdge said the council would heed the advice of Weatherford on whether to continue the practice. He said he didn't think the city should fight the issue with taxpayer money if it wasn't necessary.

"The scripture says, before you enter into war, make sure you have counsel," Burdge said.

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89 comments:

  • Beau McElhattan posted at 12:29 am on Sun, Aug 14, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    hawkercowboy7:
    No I have not read it.

    I will gladly read a copy of whatever you choose to provide to me. The library appears to have two titles by that name. Which do you mean. Authors?

    Feel free to contact me. Use your screen name here, or I'll just think you're some wacko.
    http://www.beaumcelhattan.com/reason/contact/

     
  • hawkercowboy7 posted at 4:12 pm on Thu, Aug 11, 2011.

    hawkercowboy7 Posts: 1

    Beau,

    I admire your free thinking. I think if some of the Christians in Sand Springs can absorb some free thinking while still holding true to their faith, God could accomplish more in their lives (comment not intended to spark discussion).

    One of your comments in particular stuck out to me and prompted my response. I apologize if someone has already posted something similar, but as I'm sure you know 87 comments are a lot to read through.

    In response to your statement, "You are correct. I cannot prove the non-existence of god. I reject faith, because I require evidence. I'm sorry, I cannot believe in something that cannot be seen, heard, felt, or smelled.

    You provide me evidence, I will gladly examine it and if found to be true, voila I believe that god exists."

    Have you read The Case for Christ or The Case for Faith? I would like to personally buy you a copy of the book if you have not read it.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 9:38 am on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @SSDAD2
    You're correct. However, elected representatives, while leading in our place, also need to be held accountable.

    SS citizens don't have any meaningful way to watch/listen to public SS meetings if they can't attend. They use cassette tapes for recording audio, and those are very difficult to work with in our digital age. As a resident of Tulsa, I don't attend many council meetings either due to the simple fact that I hate driving downtown, finding a place to park and going into the glass cube. However, Tulsa video records everything and citizens can watch via T-Gov on TV or online.
    http://www.tgovonline.org/

    At the very least, SS should offer digital versions of all their meetings and post them on their website. A video system wouldn't be difficult either. YouTube is free, for example. A digital video camera/tripod could be donated by someone to SS.
    http://www.youtube.com/government101

    That said, I'll even volunteer to digitally convert all the old tapes. Yes, it would take several years, but it'd be a public service that I'd be willing to do for SS, as cassette tapes will significantly degrade over many years.

     
  • SSDAD2 posted at 8:39 am on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    SSDAD2 Posts: 89

    I personally do not attend city council meetings, meetings in OKC or in Washington because I elected a representative to be there for me. If he/she no longer represents me in how they vote, I address it through my vote the next time they are up for reelection. I voice my opinions to my elected officials.

     
  • A Voice of Reason posted at 3:45 pm on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    A Voice of Reason Posts: 31

    Matthew 6 is not a recipe to keep all prayer private as you would like to think. There is a place for public prayer and the council meetings is one of those places. Jesus was teaching His disciples to not be as the "hypocrites" like the pharisees that stood on the street corner uttering vain repititions thinking that made them holy. He was teaching them that they must have a personal relationship with the Father and if they do then they can ask in private and God will answer them publicly. He goes on to say, start your prayer with "Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name" . That pretty well eliminates praying a generic prayer to a nonspecific deity. I have prayed in private to my Heavenly Father who is Holy that Sand Springs will see a move of God like no other. I am His child and He is answering my prayer openly. So be it Lord Jesus, come quickly.

     
  • Ruth1940 posted at 1:38 pm on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    Ruth1940 Posts: 2

    Prayer is constitutional, just not public prayer. Christians who respect what the bible says about Jesus agree. In Matthew 6 clearly teaches to pray in private. Don't silent prayers (easily done in public) work as well as those making a show of them?

    The Founders kept all gods out of the Constitution because of the strife caused from various takes on religion. When Ben Franklin suggested prayer at the Second Continental Congress, thinking it might help the group agree on something (after weeks of trying) it was voted down.

    Religionists would like to rewrite history for their own gains. See www.liarsforjesus.com It's unfortunate that so few are critical thinkers.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 8:49 am on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @kaysea..
    I believe they will have sufficient security. At all the meetings I've been to where there were more councilors present than citizens, there has always been an officer. Usually Chief Bradley. Considering all the press this is getting and the very controversial/emotional subject matter, I have full faith the SS Police dept will be there in full force.

    But as for fearing me?? No reason to. My only instance of violence in my whole life was getting into a fight in grade school because somebody made fun of my deaf brother. (I got my @$$ kicked, too) The only firearm I own is a 12 gauge, and it's not even in my home at the moment. I do not have a conceal-carry permit, nor do I carry any kind of weapon with me.

    To be honest, I'm a bit nervous myself, considering some of the comments I've read here. My address has already been posted 3 or 4 times, somebody suggested vaguely I be paid a visit, etc. Meanwhile, the rest of you sit behind your anonymous screen names in full safety.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 8:26 am on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    btw, is this a record number of comments on one article for the SS Leader?

    Just so you all know... I truly respect your right to pray. Nobody is trying to take that away from you. In fact, I would fight in a public manner if anybody tried to do so. You're a private citizen that enjoys the full protection of the Constitution. Elected representatives in gov't, though... That is a whole other ballgame, and that is what this is about. You folks are taking this way to personal.

    btw, I'm creating a page called "What people are saying". I'll add some of the more interesting comments in this thread (unless the SS Leader claims ownership of them.. not sure on that) Also if you'd like to email me feel free. Only thing is, you have to use your real name if you email me. If you truly believe what you think about me, then stand by it and tell people who you are. I'd have a lot more respect for you if you did. Letters to the editor require real names. Hmm.. didn't think about that. In addition to emailing me, you should write letters to the editor, as well. :)

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 8:10 am on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    lol..
    Go read the obstruction charge again. Think hard, then come back and use a word other than "guilty".

    You have also obviously never been through the tortuous process of being processed through the courts. It's about as exciting as watching grass grown in an Oklahoma drought. My bogus PO was relatively short compared to others you see in the system. Here's a quote from another website:
    ---
    "A person seeking a restraining order from a court can tell a judge about fear of "abuse" in a vague manner, with no chance for the defendant to respond, with no presentation of evidence, and with no test to see if the claim is true. The court will almost always then issue an order - an order which costs the other family member the loss of everything that is important - children, home, possessions, guns, (and often a lot more) forever. Fathers who are accused of "causing fear" do not even have the protection of criminals accused of murder. We would never allow a criminal defendant to suffer such penalties without preserving all of his constitutional protections, yet we give a restraining order defendant almost no due process at all."
    ---
    Tell you what, go downtown and request a copy of the current motion to modify. Pay very close attention to the reasons stated. Then come back to me and continue your trite opinion.

    You are correct. I cannot prove the non-existence of god. I reject faith, because I require evidence. I'm sorry, I cannot believe in something that cannot be seen, heard, felt, or smelled.

    You provide me evidence, I will gladly examine it and if found to be true, voila I believe that god exists.

    As far as my camera goes, no, I do not intend to instill fear in anyone. In fact, considering I will obviously be in the minority opinion, perhaps it is I that should fear? :)
    But I'm not. The purpose of the camera is to document the sectarian prayers that I believe are unconstitutional, and to also record the reactions of those present. That's all. Nothing else.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 8:09 am on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    I hope they have alot of security at the next meeting. This guy is a nut job. I'm not afraid for his safety but I am a little nervous for fellow Sandites.

     
  • ss-girl posted at 2:38 am on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    ss-girl Posts: 12

    Yes, I realize that because an accusation is made, the other party isn't automatically guilty but since you were found guilty of obstructing an officer and because the PO was valid for several months I find it hard to believe that nothing was founded. Also, you keep mentioning this camera of yours...is this supposed to instill some fear in us? I, for one, have no preference as to whether I'm recorded or not. So, if you are hoping to cause some kind of disturbance with it, I wouldn't waste my time...

    And for the "concrete evidence" comment you made to another user.... can you, prove the non-existence of a God? No, you cannot. The inability to prove or disprove a diety is the essence of faith. I figured that would be a no brainer for a theologian like yourself.

     
  • Reality posted at 10:46 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Markert is just as wrong as you are, obviously. That decision said no such thing. Notice that the Supreme Court, Congress, etc all still do Christian prayers. As a matter of fact, they quoted that tradition as a reason for their ruling.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 10:30 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    Yes I have. GOD has answered my prayers. The most recent was on the 4th of July It was a true life and death medical issue for a family member and God answered my prayers. I have seen Gods grace many many times. I also see it everyday in the faces of my children. I have seen miracles. Things that cannot be explained. God is in my heart and that is all the proof I need.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 9:58 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Kaysea
    So much for being open-minded, eh? What do you fear by watching a video?
    But seriously... my mental health? Come on. I'm quite sane. A bit eccentric? Sure. I've always been misunderstood. That's alright, though.

    Pray for my mental health? hmm.. Well, ok. Feel free. btw, have you ever seen concrete evidence of the god you're praying to? If so, please share. :)

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 9:42 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @keep it simple

    I invoke nothing. I examine a situation, evaluate the facts, gather opinions from others and make a decision that will be the most beneficial to all involved.

    In regards to your grandmother, I think you are referring to Pascal's wager:
    "Even if the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a rational person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose."
    There are arguments against this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager#Argument_from_inconsistent_revelations

    The explanation of my concern was linked earlier:
    http://tinyurl.com/3cjzhd3

    However, a wonderfully simple version can be found here:
    http://raisingfreethinkers.com/city-of-sand-springs-is-praying-to-jesus-before-meetings/
    "What do people not understand about the separation of church and state? It protects not only the non-religious, but also the faithful. It keeps that faith sacred and meaningful. It keeps the various faiths from being overrun by another. It prevents the government from telling a Christian that they must worship Allah, and vice versa. Why must people continue to bring their god into the government? It’s so simple to leave it out, yet people continue to invoke the Christian god before meetings and as a way of solving the difficult problems."

    i.e. Not everybody believes in the same god you do. Why should the majority religion be allowed to be predominant in government? What about the people who have no faith? It really is simple. Government should concentrate on what they were elected to do: efficiently run the government for all citizens.

    I have no problem with you believing whatever you believe. That is what's great about America. We all have the freedom to believe whatever we want, as long as it does not hurt our neighbors.

    Thank you for wishing me peace. I'm happy that you find peace in your beliefs. I, too, have peace in my beliefs:
    http://wp.me/s1CSuX-freedom


     
  • Kaysea posted at 9:27 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    Beau I won't read or listen to any garbage that you suggest but I will pray for your mental health.

     
  • Keep it simple posted at 9:13 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Keep it simple Posts: 40

    Forgive me but I have one more question for you. As a child I can remember my grandmother saying, if I am wrong about heaven what have I lost in believing, but if you are wrong..................

     
  • Keep it simple posted at 9:05 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Keep it simple Posts: 40

    please forgive me if I seem a little slow, but what exactly is your concern? Is it the prayer you object to, who is praying, who they are asking guidance from, the language being spoken, what is being said? Just what is it, as an agnostic who do you prayer to? who do you invoke? From all I have read I fear you have much bigger issues than who the people of Sand Springs, which you are not one of, pray to. If you really want peace and understanding why are you inciting all this discord. As a Christian my heart is that others will know the peace and understanding I get from knowing Christ personally. My wish for you is that same peace.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 8:45 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    Here's a letter sent to Mayor Dewey Bartlett back in December of last year from the FFRF.
    http://tinyurl.com/3cjzhd3

    Explains my position better than I ever could.

    @Kaysea..
    Go to YouTube and put the following into the search bar:
    1kbiUiRfnh8
    That's my response to your offer for prayer. No offense.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 8:27 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    This guy sounds like he needs all our prayers along with some professional help.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 7:20 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @ss-girl You're correct. It is interesting. You should keep in mind, however, that there are always two sides to every story, and that just because somebody accuses doesn't mean the other party is guilty. The courts almost always by default issue certain classes, etc. They have to take the side of caution, and I get that.
    (not sure if this link will post)
    http://www.batesline.com/archives/2011/07/nancy-rothman-contemptuous-behavior.html

    I hope to meet you at the meeting. I'm not sure, but I suspect there will be a lot of booing and hissing when I turn my video camera on. :)

    But I hope it will not be like that and that people will be civil. Dissent and discussion is always a good thing, win or lose.

     
  • ss-girl posted at 6:30 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    ss-girl Posts: 12

    Wow... upon initially seeing this article I was completely outraged. But I have to say, I'm extremely proud of my neighbors for standing up for our rights to prayer. Most of us tend to banter with one another with different topics but i'm happy to see everyone (for the most part) standing together on this. I consider myself to be extremely tolerant of other religions, cultures, ethnicities etc... but I demand nothing less in return. I'm sure that if ANY other religion wanted to be represented in prayer, they would be welcomed to come pray as well.


    @Fedupss and Reality: He's absolutely right, check out OSCN.net, there is some pretty informative stuff on there, like the protective orders filed then only dismissed upon the completion of anger management , the charge for "obstructing an officer", etc... sounds like someone we need making changes in our city.

    See you guys at the meeting!

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 6:14 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality I think Ms. Market said it best:

    "Markert said in a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Marsh V. Chambers, the court upheld that governmental prayers were permissible so long as they were nonsectarian or nondenominational. The invocation of specific deities violates the guidelines of Marsh V. Chambers, Markert said."

    As far as the council denying a particular clergy to pray is not known to me. However, does the council actively invite people of other faiths?

     
  • Reality posted at 4:35 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Can you explain this sentence?

    "I will pursue the issue with the City of Sand Springs regarding their practice of exclusionary prayer at council meetings."

    Marsh V. Chambers was a decision 6-3 stating that prayer could be held before a meeting. Can you give one example of a religious group representative that has requested to pray at the meeting and been denied?

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 4:04 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @FedUPSS
    Go look it up on OSCN. It's all there.

    @reality is correct. I have seen a therapist and still am. Why would this be an issue?

    While you people may certainly judge me (Christians don't do that, do they?), you most certainly do not know the whole story.

    But back to the subject at hand: I will pursue the issue with the City of Sand Springs regarding their practice of exclusionary prayer at council meetings. If needed I will ask the FFRF for help. If any of you want to meet me and discuss it in a civil manner at the council meeting on the 22nd, I'd be happy to video your opinions and post them, regardless of if I agree with you or not.

     
  • FedUpSS posted at 3:34 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    FedUpSS Posts: 5

    Maybe we need to talk to Robin.......looks like she was the one that had the common sense in the relationship......oh wait, she left him.....WONDER WHY?

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 3:04 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality
    I agree with some of what you said. I did remove the post you are referring to.

    I shouldn't have posted that. Like you said, there were parts in there that may have been considered a rant. That was bad judgment on my part and I let my frustration get the better of me. I apologize.

     
  • Reality posted at 2:52 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    And now it is back.

     
  • Reality posted at 2:51 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    I made another post about him having seen a therapist for 4 years. It was deleted. I am not sure why, because he stated it in the link that he gave below which he said to go to to learn more about him. He has since deleted that page, but it was mostly a rant about how him doing all of this is because his exwife accused him of not being a good person. It was all her fault and none of this is his fault.

     
  • Reality posted at 2:45 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    In the link he posted below was an auto-biographical story about himself in which he talked about how Robin, his ex-wife, treated him so badly and that is why he is now on this crusade to be mess with other people. In that same story, he mentioned going to a therapist for 4 years, I believe, so apparently he has sought help. I went to verify the amount of time and now the story is gone. Like I said, it was mostly a rant about how Robin messed up his life and none of his actions are his own fault.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 2:12 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    I have used my real name many many times on many subject and topics. The one I was most vocal about was low-income section 8 apartments issue. I have been at city council meetings and yes more people need to attend. Life, family and jobs do get in the way and I know that is no excuse, but we can't be at every meeting. That doesn't me we don't care about or city. You are just a trouble maker craving attention so go seek some professional help.

     
  • Reality posted at 2:09 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    I am. What does that have to do with this? Are you going to tell me that I am not acting like a Christian? I have not done or said anything that would make me agree with you, if you are. That is always the type of desperate comment that people like you make when you have nothing better to say.

     
  • FedUpSS posted at 2:02 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    FedUpSS Posts: 5

    What does it matter if he's aChristian?

    You need to stop tying to get people to go to your web page and learning YOUR ways. If you don't like what you find in this town, move on, we don't want ya. No bodies going to listen to your spill any more. You need to move on and bug someone else or, maybe, better yourself on staying out of other peoples business.

    You're not welcome here!

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 1:47 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality
    Are you a Christian?

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 1:46 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality
    Are you a Christian?

     
  • Reality posted at 1:29 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Cowards? You are the one that requested a police escort because are being barbarians by not agreeing with you on an internet forum. You are so frightened you had to put a screenshot in 10 secure locations and give it to 10 of your friends because somebody posted your address, which was easily found on whitepages dot com. You even said on your website that you know what it feels like to be a homosexual because of it.

    You are like the little kid that gets no attention so he acts out in a bad way just so that SOMEBODY...ANYBODY...will pay attention to him. I can't speak for others, but I don't use my real name because I am not DESPERATELY seeking attention.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 12:44 pm on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    I love the way everybody on here utilizes an anonymous screen name while bashing me.

    Which one of you cowards has the stones to use your own name? How many will stake their reputation and be as open as I have? Anyone?

    How many of you people who care so much about your community will show up at the next council meeting?

    You are all pathetic.

    It's easy to talk. But can you do the walk, too?

     
  • Happinessisthebestrevenge posted at 11:14 am on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Happinessisthebestrevenge Posts: 5

    Well said Reality!!
    I love Sand Springs and I hope they continue with prayer and do not let one disturbed attention seeker ruin it for everyone else.

     
  • Reality posted at 7:22 am on Fri, Aug 5, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    So you're doing all of this because your wife accused you of being a less than great human to be around (worded that way to get by the filter),etc., etc. You're doing a great job of proving her wrong, buddy.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 8:17 pm on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality

    Very well. Learn more about me.
    http://www.beaumcelhattan.com/reason/2011/08/04/me/

    I do care.

    Peace.

     
  • salcliff posted at 2:52 pm on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    salcliff Posts: 2

    Beau
    You nor your Attorney have a clue what the Establishment Clause is.

     
  • salcliff posted at 2:08 pm on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    salcliff Posts: 2

    I for one am getting sick and tired of everytime the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned, someone comes out of the woodwork to complain about it. It doesn't matter to them that the majority of Americans hold Christian values or that this country was founded on Christian values. They, selfishly want the majority to believe as they do or not believe anything at all. Its their own guilty concience that causes them to be hostile to Christians and the name of Jesus Christ. They try to use documents like the Establishment Clause that states"Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof". The framers put that in the Constitution because where they came from England formed a national Church and forced the people to attend and pay homage. As far as the last part of it. If you don't want to exercise in it then don't, but don't try to tell others that they can't.
    You don't even live in Sand Springs Beau. You live in Tulsa. So what business is it of yours anyway if the councilmen pray before a meeting? This reminds me of when 60 or 70 percent of Oklahomans voted in the 2010 election to keep Sharia Law from being considered in our courts and one stinking Muslim from Georgia and one filthy Liberal Judge overturned the will of the majority of the people.
    This country was built on Christian Values, so if you have a problem with that then feel free to move to an islamic country or any other one that doesn't believe in Jesus Christ. And Take your attorney with you.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 11:48 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    I forgot a major one. Number 13


    Iraq and Afghanistan.


    God Bless all of our service men and women. May our hearts and prayers be with them and their families. Be safe my nephew in Iraq and may you and all our service men and women come safe and sound.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 11:30 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    It posted before I was finished.

    9. Even with health insurance, people can't afford health care.

    10. We can't fix our border problems that put a huge drain on the budget. A person that is here and is not legal has more rights and benefits than a citizen.

    11. We give billions of taxpayers dollars to bail out companies that are in trouble and they give it to top executives as a bonus. If a company is in trouble, you don't give out a bonus. Our gov. has no common sense.

    12. We have hard criminals that have raped, murdered and destroyed lives getting out of prison over and over to repeat their crimes.

    A little thing like saying a prayer in a small town city council meeting should not be your focus of attention. Those who want to pray PRAY and those who don't step out of the room for just a minute.

     
  • Reality posted at 11:26 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    *He doesn't care.

     
  • Reality posted at 11:25 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    He doesn't. He posted on his webpage that he now knows what it is like to be a minority due to the comments on this page. He said that he knows what African Americans and homosexuals feel like now when they are discriminated against. He said that the Christians on here are acting like barbarians toward him. He is obviously a joke. Nobody has been barbaric at all. His little feelers are all hurt now.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 11:12 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    Beau Here is a very small list. I could fill a huge book.
    1. Millions of people can't find a job.

    2. Our gov. waste billions of taxpayers dollars.

    3. Oue political system is a joke.

    4. Our country doesn't produce anything anymore.

    5. You can't buy anything made in America.

    6. We have people in our own country that can't feed their families or put a roof over their head.

    7. The world expects the US to help everyone else but no one gives back to us.

    8. Congress is on vacation when thousands of people won't get a papycheck. Do they even care? I don't think so.

     
  • sanditemomof2 posted at 10:20 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    sanditemomof2 Posts: 23

    What all this sounds like to me is that Beau needs to get a job. He has way to much time on his hands. We Sandites need to stick together and fight for what we believe and what our rights are. I agree with Reality, I think this Beau guy is just trying to stir up touble. Just remember that he (Beau) will have to answer to the Heavenly Father in the end for his actions.

     
  • Keep it simple posted at 10:02 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Keep it simple Posts: 40

    why is this article even in the SAND SPRINGS Leader? Doesn't it say that McElhattan does not even live in SS, therefore what OUR city leaders do is not his concern? This country was founded on Christian beliefs, our currency states "in God we Trust".

     
  • Reality posted at 7:16 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    I think one of the most important lines in the article is this.

    "Sand Springs City Attorney David Weatherford said Marsh V. Chambers 'clearly upholds the right to have opening prayer at meetings.'"

    For anybody that has followed the City, David Weatherford is an excellent lawyer. I don't know of any cases he has lost when conducting City business. I would take his word over somebody that just started slinging demand letters about anything he could think of. When he sent the demand letter to CPHS, he sent an editorial about it to the Tulsa World. Why? Bragging about how great he is? Did his demand cause the removal of the sign? No.

     
  • Reality posted at 7:11 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Your address is easily found in the public domain, which is how I found it so easily. I would bet that if something bad happened to you, it would be because you are out there trying to stir up a lot of trouble, not because I posted your address. The fact that you think anything could happen to me simply because I posted your address shows how little you know. The fact that you felt the need to have this elaborate (that's a joke) contigency plan in case something happens says the same about you as saying that if anybody talks to at the City Council meeting that you will need to have the Chief of Police escort you to your car. Typical of your ilk.

     
  • Matt posted at 1:14 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Matt Posts: 3

    @Kaysea -

    Sorry if I offended you, I was just looking at the past 30 years of Christians and politics in America and assumed the worse.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 12:39 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Bobby P
    Were this a Muslim Caliphate, you would take the same precautions I take tonight.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 12:03 am on Thu, Aug 4, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    This is about the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, not wars in distant lands that most do not agree with.

    Do I love our soldiers? Yes. Very much. They enable us to have the debate we have tonight.

    i.e. Sand Springs cannot do much about international issues of war.
    You say there are more serious issues, yet you fail to list said issues. This SS Leader article is about the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

    What say you?

     
  • Bobby P posted at 11:57 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Bobby P Posts: 156

    This guy needs his head examined. I can't even take him seriously anymore after some of his posts. I'm pretty sure that at least 8 of the 10 people he fully trusts are his other personalities.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 11:44 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    3 Oklahoma service men were killed this week. People in our own country can't find a job or feed their families or put a roof over their heads. America is in trouble. We have more serious issues that need our attention.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 10:58 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality
    The address is correct and I thank you. I was needing a proper screenshot of what you previously posted. The moderator deleted it before I could get to it.

    However the phone number is not correct. To save the poor person who may have that number, you should not use that anymore, as that is a former Cox Communications number I had.

    Should anything untoward happen to me because of your actions, the screenshot of your post is saved securely in 10 locations and was sent to 10 people I fully trust.

    Good luck.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 9:16 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Reality
    I don't appreciate you posting my address and phone number like that. It's just not polite. You know?

     
  • SSDAD2 posted at 7:04 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    SSDAD2 Posts: 89

    Beau -- I'll pray for you.

     
  • Reality posted at 6:36 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Interesting that not only does he redact his contact info, but the newspaper that is all about airing everybody else's busines won't allow his contact info to be posted. Typical liberals sticking together.

     
  • Reality posted at 6:16 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Also the same guy that sent a letter requesting that Charles Page High School remove the signs by their entrances putting people on notice that their vehicle could be searched if they were on school property. It seems that he just finds a reason to send a letter to demand something his way. He is obviously a trouble starter.

     
  • Themelios posted at 5:42 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Themelios Posts: 2

    Beau, thank you. I was not suggesting anything creepy at all. In fact, I was only intimating that your plea for responsible transparency somehow does not apply to you. As far as an anonymous "religious" reference, it would be difficult for you to associate my name with any religion since you have nothing on which to base your assumptions. You see, neither the characters formed by my keyboard, nor the sound made by the air in my larynx, have a positive resemblance to my thought. But these letters and sounds become signs to those who have the key to them, and you kind sir do not have the key. Regarding open records, I urge you to be consistent. Without consistency, your arguments are little more than substance-less intellectualizing for the purpose of validating yourself.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 5:26 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    Matt I am Christian also. I think what people say or do and if an apology is needed is up to them. They have to answer to their faith rather it be GOD or something/someone else. I just took offense to your words and I quote" I am just apologizing for Christians".
    You made it sound like all Christians have or will do something that this man deserves an apology. I don't agree.

     
  • Reality posted at 5:21 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    Did you ever feel welcome here? Is that what you do when you feel welcomed? Go in and start demanding that everything be done your way because that is the way you want it? If that is the way you act when you feel welcomed, I bet you have worn out your welcome many times.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 5:14 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    I will graciously bow out now. I no longer feel welcome here.

    I'll be at the council meeting on the 22nd if there are any civilized people that wish to speak with me.

    I'm sure Chief Bradley will be happy to escort me to my car when the meeting is over. [wink]

    If anything, maybe this adventure will encourage people to take an interest in their local government. The last council meeting I was at, there were perhaps 10 citizens there.

     
  • Reality posted at 5:06 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    By the way, this is the same guy that was causing a stir about the councilmen using personal email addresses. It appears that he is just looking to start a fight.

     
  • FedUpSS posted at 4:54 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    FedUpSS Posts: 5

    Matt,

    Someitimes is takes a "MEAN CHRISTIAN" to get the points across. That is what's wrong with the WORLD today, to many people want to be the good christian, good politicain, good athiest,...etc.

    No one wants to stand up for what's right in this world.

    If this man gets on here and tries to get people to go see his web page.....don't ya think there's more behind him than what's showing? Whay come to our town and tell us how to do business?

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 4:52 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Themelios
    Yes, it would permit that to the best of my knowledge. I have the records request form on my site. Feel free. You are just as free as I am.

    It's interesting that you would suggest meeting me in person. Are you indicating that if you had my address, you would pay me a visit? That's kind of creepy coming from somebody using an anonymous screen name with a religious reference.

    Check out my contact page. I have a Google Voice widget you can use to air out your opinions on me.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 4:51 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    @Themelios
    Yes, it would permit that to the best of my knowledge. I have the records request form on my site. Feel free. You are just as free as I am.

    It's interesting that you would suggest meeting me in person. Are you indicating that if you had my address, you would pay me a visit? That's kind of creepy coming from somebody using an anonymous screen name with a religious reference.

    Check out my contact page. I have a Google Voice widget you can use to air out your opinions on me.

     
  • Themelios posted at 4:39 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Themelios Posts: 2

    Beau, I am surprised to see in your email to Mayor Burdge that your contact information has been redacted. Would an open meetings request permit us to view the email to Mayor Burdge in its entirety without redactions so that the good people of Sand Springs might discuss this matter with you in person?

     
  • Matt posted at 4:28 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Matt Posts: 3

    @Kaysea,

    I am just apologizing for Christians (as I am one), and how unchristian-like people can act when politics get in the way. Not apologizing for everyone or every christian just for the one's that will act hateful towards the gentleman.

     
  • SS Mom of 4 posted at 4:17 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    SS Mom of 4 Posts: 4

    God has been taken out of all sanctions of the government. Since then the government continues to tank. Schools are a frightening place to be, and soldiers and elderly wonder if they will have a pay check to live on.

    Should you not be a person of religion, take a moment of silence. No one is forcing anyone to participate or letting their lack of participation sway the meeting.

     
  • sanditemomof2 posted at 4:04 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    sanditemomof2 Posts: 23

    I think Mr. McElhattan needs to keep his thoughts and concers to himself since he doesn't even live in Sand Springs, he lives in Tulsa. Frankly what we do at our city council meetings in none of his business. He need to go and discuss this with the city of Tulsa's council. what a shame it is that a bunch of crazy people are trying to keep GOD out of our schools, goverment and now trying to bleed into our city council. That is what is wrong with this country, we are letting people try and take GOD out of everything. GOD created this world and he needs to be a part of this world in every aspect.

     
  • Reality posted at 3:53 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Reality Posts: 104

    I saw nothing in Burdge's comment about waging war with you. You have waged the "war." He is suggesting seeking council on what the response will be. He said that they are listening to Mr. Weatherford because he didn't see a need to fight the issue with taxpayer dollars if that wasn't necessary. You are the one causing the problem. They didn't seek you out.

     
  • Missy Settles posted at 3:53 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Missy Settles Posts: 3

    With equal pleasure I have often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people -a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side have nobly established their general liberty and independence.” Federalist Paper #2

     
  • Missy Settles posted at 3:51 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Missy Settles Posts: 3


    Article XXXIII in the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution of 1776 provided: That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to Protection in their religious liberty ....Research it before you decide its your responsibility to remove our rights.

     
  • Missy Settles posted at 3:50 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Missy Settles Posts: 3

    The first amendment is clearly written and it's means exactly what it says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....."
    John Jay ""Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."; Federalist Papers

     
  • FedUpSS posted at 3:49 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    FedUpSS Posts: 5

    Take Bee with ya!

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 3:46 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    Thank you, Matt. Mutual respect and polite dialogue is my goal.

     
  • FedUpSS posted at 3:46 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    FedUpSS Posts: 5

    Beau,

    Stay in Tulsa and try to change them. We don't need you here. You have nothing to do with our city or council. Keep your little web page to yourself and stay out of OUR town.

     
  • Bee posted at 3:44 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Bee Posts: 2

    Beau, you are fully supported by those of us in Sand Springs that wish to see the government remain secular. The separation of church and state is not meant to deny Christians the right to pray, but rather to protect their faith. Even the Southern Baptist Association recognizes the importance of protecting their faith from being controlled by the government. Allowing government meetings to begin by invoking a specific god may seem minor, but it is this type of event that opens the door for religious discrimination, which is not minor and affects a large (and growing) group of people.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 3:39 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    Matt, you have no right to apologize for other people. They have a right to their opinions. You can only say your sorry for what you have done, not others.

     
  • Kaysea posted at 3:22 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Kaysea Posts: 234

    I am so tired of people who want to take prayer out of everything. If you don't like it, don't pray. Let the people who want prayer (pray). The council is ok with it or it would not be a tradition for many many years. I vote to keep prayer in our city council and I think MOST of Sandites would agree with me.

     
  • Matt posted at 3:16 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Matt Posts: 3

    Beau

    I can't say I agree on this issue with you, I think Sand Springs has much bigger issues that it needs to deal with; but I do want to up front apologize for all the anger and vitriol you are about to endure from people of this town. I would hope, and I do have high hopes for the people who claim Christ in this town, to treat you with respect and dignity. This is not a war, this is a healthy discussion that can be had, and hope you all the best.

     
  • Bobby P posted at 2:33 pm on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Bobby P Posts: 156

    Beau

    I did not see ads on your site, but thats because I did not go to your site because I couldn't care less about what is on it. I see nothing in the article that says the city is breaking the law by praying before meetings. All I see is a whiny person who has nothing better to do than try and force his views on others. Please go away.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 10:48 am on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    Thanks, Mr. Hughes.

    Bobby P. I hear nothing in your statement that provides evidence that the city is abiding by the law.

    btw, if you don't want to read documents I provide on my site that the city does not provide on theirs, that is your choice. Do you see ads on my site? I have nothing to gain in this financially. In fact, this has cost me close to $200 now and many hours of work. Including hosting costs.

     
  • posted at 10:38 am on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Posts:

    Mr. McElhattan is correct - we used 'local' in the loose sense of the word. We modified the online article though to be more precise.

     
  • Bobby P posted at 10:36 am on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Bobby P Posts: 156

    Beau,

    first of all nobody cares about your website, stop trying to promote yourself. second, if you aren't a person who prays then think about something else while people are praying. instead you would rather try and force people to conform to what you want, and you do this under the banner of everyone needing to be included. can we say hypocrite? please go away now, you are very annoying.

     
  • Beau McElhattan posted at 10:20 am on Wed, Aug 3, 2011.

    Beau McElhattan Posts: 87

    Correction: I am a resident of Tulsa. However I plan to move back to Sand Springs next year sometime. (see my website, or just google my name)

    At the end there, Mayor Burdge quotes Proverbs 24:6, "Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. " (NIV)

    What is he suggesting by this comment? A war? Is he taking advice for his role as Mayor from the Bible or from the Council Code of Ethics and City Charter? (see my website to read it) That doesn't sound like the statements of a mayor whose responsibility is to represent ALL citizens. His statement clearly tells me he feels his particular brand of Christianity is superior to that of all other faiths.

    Custom or tradition do not make it right in the eyes of the law. This council should cease these activities immediately.

     
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