Hindu invocation

Sanskrit prayer scheduled for Chico City Council

On Sept. 17, the Chico City Council meeting will feature an invocation by Rajan Zed (pictured), president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. He will deliver the prayer in Sanskrit and then read an English transition for those who don’t speak the ancient language.

This comes as the Butte County Coalition of Reason pressures the city to end the pre-meeting invocations, citing a constitutional conflict over separation of church and state.

In 2002, a state appellate court ruled that prayers before governmental bodies may be delivered as long as they don’t recognize a particular religion, which means mentioning Jesus is not allowed because of his association with Christianity. God, on the other hand, is considered a generic entity common to many religions, so the word may be used in a pre-meeting prayer.

Chico is one of 14 of city and county governments statewide that Zed has visited or is planning to visit.