Lancaster, Calif. is Not a Christian Community!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter today condemning remarks by the mayor of Lancaster, Calif., R. Rex Parris, in his recent State of the City address, that he wants residents to help "grow a Christian community." He later told a reporter for NBC LA: "In a Christian community, neighbors love their neighbors. . . . This is a Christian community. We should live like it. We should act like it." The mayor said that the majority of the Lancaster community is Christian, so it's only natural that the majority of government invocations invoke the name of Jesus. 

"As mayor, you took an oath of office to uphold the secular U.S. Constitution. A U.S. city may not adopt a religion. Individuals are free to adopt or reject religion, but a public official may not use public office to promote his or her religious views, much less claim his goal is to 'grow a Christian community,' " wrote Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president. 

The comments have excluded and offended the area's non-Christians, including the approximately 18% of California's population who are nonbelievers, as well as the area's approximately 10,000 Muslims.

The Mayor used the address to urge residents to support a city ballot measure that would authorize daily prayers to specific deities (which will most often be Jesus) at city council meetings.

The "proposal of a city ballot measure to authorize prayers to Jesus or to a specific deity flout the intent of the Bill of Rights, which protects freedom of conscience from tyranny of the majority. We do not take a vote to determine the religion of a community," Gaylor said.

Gaylor called government prayer "unnecessary, inappropriate and innately divisive."


Send a message to the mayor and members of the Lancaster City Council (even one clear sentence is effective) that you object to both the mayor's remarks, and the proposal to make daily sectarian prayer a permanent fixture in the city's government. Nonbelievers and religious minorities should not be made to feel like political outsiders in their own community. Please keep messages brief and civil, and sign your name. For maximum effectiveness, write as an individual and not as someone responding to an action alert. Please do not forward this action alert to city officials. Thank you for your help!


Mayor R. Rex Parris and Members of the City Council 
Lancaster City Hall
44933 N. Fern Avenue
Lancaster CA 93534

Mayor's E-Mail: [email protected]

Other Council Member E-mails:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected] (Note: See her bigoted remarks in the NBC LA news story.)

Media Contacts

Remember to keep letters to the editor under 150 words and include your name, address and phone number.

Los Angeles Times
[email protected] or here

Antelope Valley Press
Letter to the Editor
P.O. Box 4050
Palmdale CA 93590-4050
[email protected]

For more information, read this LA Times story

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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