July 22nd, 2012 11:26 EST
Santa Clara, CA, Says 'No' to Hindu Prayer Request
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed`s request to read the Hindu invocation or a Hindu prayer supplied by him to be read by the assigned City Councilmember in the City Council meeting has received a `No`response from the City.
Santa Clara City Council meetings, held at least two times per month on Tuesday evenings, reportedly open with an invocation prayer. According to Carol L. McCarthy, Assistant City Manager, same following prayer had been read for over 25 years by the annually-appointed Council member: "Oh heavenly father on high we humbly seek thy blessings upon this meeting. Grant us strength, courage and will to perform our obligations and duties to our people with justice to all. Grant us wisdom so that we may act wisely and for the best interests of our people, our neighbors and our country. All this we ask in thy name, who reigns the world without end."
Zed`s queries "Is there a process to change this practice of reading the same prayer each time and instead replace it with reading prayers from different religions/denominations?" and "Is there currently any consideration to change the existing invocation set-up?" have also received a "No" answer from the City.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement today, argued that Santa Clara was becoming increasingly religiously diverse city and its City Hall should represent all people irrespective of religion/denomination. This existing invocation tradition needed to be relooked at and changed to a more inclusive event. Moreover, this appeared to be breaching the equality of religions, Zed added.
Zed stressed that it would be quite befitting for Santa Clara to move to multi-faith opening prayers in rotation representing major religions and Native American spirituality. It would be wonderful to watch the diverse religions/denominations praying at one platform and thus opening a new chapter of understanding, cooperation and love.
Moreover, Rajan Zed pointed out, Santa Clara Code of Ethics & Values, which had received State Award and the City website claimed that it was "useful to other cities", stated: "extend equal opportunities".
Santa Clara, incorporated in 1852, is home to multinational semiconductor chip maker Intel, Santa Clara University, NFL football team San Francisco 49ers and is habitat for the burrowing owl. It has won an All-America City award and was honored in a White House Ceremony. About 14% of its population is reportedly of Indian descent. Jamie L. Matthews, Lisa M. Gillmor and Ronald E. Garratt are Mayor, Vice Mayor and Interim City Manager respectively.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.