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Freethought Today · March 2014

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF’er in talks to settle prayer suit

Attorneys representing the city of Eureka, Calif., and Eureka resident Carole Beaton (an FFRF Lifetime Member) are working on a settlement of Beaton’s prayer lawsuit against the city.

At a case management conference Feb. 18 at the Humboldt County Courthouse, City Attorney Cyndy Day-Wilson told Judge Bruce Watson that she and Beaton’s attorney Peter Martin are “currently negotiating a settlement,” which is expected in about 60 days, the Times-Standard reported.

Martin filed the suit on behalf of Beaton in January 2013, asking the council to stop holding invocations before meetings and for Mayor Frank Jager to stop promoting the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.

Watson ruled Dec. 24 that nonsectarian invocations at council meetings are legal but said Beaton can still pursue her claim against Jager’s prayer breakfast.

Neither party is discussing potential settlement details. ”I want to say that the lawsuit was not against prayer and was not against religion,” Beaton told a reporter. “It was against the mixing of church and state. A city or any other government entity should not be sponsoring a religious event.”

The suit alleges use of city resour-ces in promoting the breakfast. Jager downplayed the city clerk’s involvement.

The next case management conference is set for April 30.

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