Eisenberger says council’s invocation could be changed after Supreme Court decision

News Apr 20, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says politicians may have to change the invocation to its council meetings after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a Quebec’s council’s ability to open its meetings with a prayer.

“It will cause us some difficulty,” said Eisenberger. “If we were to challenge the Charter on our own and continue on with a religious aspect to this that might cause us some difficulty. I don’t see a major change. I do see a change.”

Hamilton council has over the years have had a revolving number of representatives from a variety of religious institutions say a few words, including a prayer, prior to the council meeting. Some of those invocations have been non-denominational, said Eisenberger, while others have included a religious aspect.

Hamilton’s opening invocation has been ongoing since amalgamation by past mayors. Council has hosted numerous religious presentations, including Wiccan, Aboriginal, and Islam. On its website, the city wants to be “inclusive of all faiths.”

“Personally, the varied denominational approach that we had in the past is a great opportunity to appreciate and understand all faiths and all denominations,” said Eisenberger. “But it certainly seems that particular issue – faith - becomes the sticking point.”

Last week the Supreme Court in an unanimous decision ended the Quebec town of Saguenay’s practice of reciting a Catholic prayer prior to council meetings. The court stated the prayer “infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

“The state must instead remain neutral in this regard,” stated the judgement.

Eisenberger said council will have to decide whether or not to have a review of its invocation practice.

“The Supreme Court ruling indicates that any religious connotation attached to (the invocation) to be challengeable,” said Eisenberger. “I think we will have to wait and see how that evolves. Council will have to decide how they want to proceed.”

Soon after the court’s decision, some councils stopped opening their meetings with a prayer. For instance, in Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson replaced its prayer with a moment of silence, while the City of Edmonton which has had a prayer before its council meeting for 35 years,  ordered a review of the practice.

Eisenberger said he has always believed in the idea of separating church and state.

“That’s always an issue for me,” said Eisenberger. “ As long as we adhere to that fundamental principle I think we can have people come before council and share some reflections and share some ideas.”

Eisenberger says council’s invocation could be changed after Supreme Court decision

News Apr 20, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says politicians may have to change the invocation to its council meetings after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a Quebec’s council’s ability to open its meetings with a prayer.

“It will cause us some difficulty,” said Eisenberger. “If we were to challenge the Charter on our own and continue on with a religious aspect to this that might cause us some difficulty. I don’t see a major change. I do see a change.”

Hamilton council has over the years have had a revolving number of representatives from a variety of religious institutions say a few words, including a prayer, prior to the council meeting. Some of those invocations have been non-denominational, said Eisenberger, while others have included a religious aspect.

Hamilton’s opening invocation has been ongoing since amalgamation by past mayors. Council has hosted numerous religious presentations, including Wiccan, Aboriginal, and Islam. On its website, the city wants to be “inclusive of all faiths.”

“Personally, the varied denominational approach that we had in the past is a great opportunity to appreciate and understand all faiths and all denominations,” said Eisenberger. “But it certainly seems that particular issue – faith - becomes the sticking point.”

Last week the Supreme Court in an unanimous decision ended the Quebec town of Saguenay’s practice of reciting a Catholic prayer prior to council meetings. The court stated the prayer “infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

“The state must instead remain neutral in this regard,” stated the judgement.

Eisenberger said council will have to decide whether or not to have a review of its invocation practice.

“The Supreme Court ruling indicates that any religious connotation attached to (the invocation) to be challengeable,” said Eisenberger. “I think we will have to wait and see how that evolves. Council will have to decide how they want to proceed.”

Soon after the court’s decision, some councils stopped opening their meetings with a prayer. For instance, in Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson replaced its prayer with a moment of silence, while the City of Edmonton which has had a prayer before its council meeting for 35 years,  ordered a review of the practice.

Eisenberger said he has always believed in the idea of separating church and state.

“That’s always an issue for me,” said Eisenberger. “ As long as we adhere to that fundamental principle I think we can have people come before council and share some reflections and share some ideas.”

Eisenberger says council’s invocation could be changed after Supreme Court decision

News Apr 20, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says politicians may have to change the invocation to its council meetings after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a Quebec’s council’s ability to open its meetings with a prayer.

“It will cause us some difficulty,” said Eisenberger. “If we were to challenge the Charter on our own and continue on with a religious aspect to this that might cause us some difficulty. I don’t see a major change. I do see a change.”

Hamilton council has over the years have had a revolving number of representatives from a variety of religious institutions say a few words, including a prayer, prior to the council meeting. Some of those invocations have been non-denominational, said Eisenberger, while others have included a religious aspect.

Hamilton’s opening invocation has been ongoing since amalgamation by past mayors. Council has hosted numerous religious presentations, including Wiccan, Aboriginal, and Islam. On its website, the city wants to be “inclusive of all faiths.”

“Personally, the varied denominational approach that we had in the past is a great opportunity to appreciate and understand all faiths and all denominations,” said Eisenberger. “But it certainly seems that particular issue – faith - becomes the sticking point.”

Last week the Supreme Court in an unanimous decision ended the Quebec town of Saguenay’s practice of reciting a Catholic prayer prior to council meetings. The court stated the prayer “infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

“The state must instead remain neutral in this regard,” stated the judgement.

Eisenberger said council will have to decide whether or not to have a review of its invocation practice.

“The Supreme Court ruling indicates that any religious connotation attached to (the invocation) to be challengeable,” said Eisenberger. “I think we will have to wait and see how that evolves. Council will have to decide how they want to proceed.”

Soon after the court’s decision, some councils stopped opening their meetings with a prayer. For instance, in Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson replaced its prayer with a moment of silence, while the City of Edmonton which has had a prayer before its council meeting for 35 years,  ordered a review of the practice.

Eisenberger said he has always believed in the idea of separating church and state.

“That’s always an issue for me,” said Eisenberger. “ As long as we adhere to that fundamental principle I think we can have people come before council and share some reflections and share some ideas.”