Editors Note: This was also sent to City Council members.
Letter to the Editor:
Hello City of Burbank City
As a former member of the Burbank Ministerial Association and resident of Burbank, I have been fortunate to offer the Invocations several times through the years, right up until moving into the private sector and taking on quite a bit of travel.
I was invited to the podium by Mayors Battey, Bowne, Stamper, Wiggins, and Golonski. I was also invited by Mrs. Stacey Murphy, though I believe it was when she was Vice-Mayor. I always found it a privilege and a responsibility, went by the rules, appreciated the positive responses from audience members and officials, and was especially encouraged by the public’s response. Apparently there were more people watching on cable TV than I had realized. I was also privileged to be the main speaker at the Burbank Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, under Dr. David Gordon’s Mayorship.
With that in mind, I am not writing you with an urgent urge to keep the current City Council Invocations “as is” necessarily because they were dear to me, whether I was presenting them or not, nor because they were apparently important to many others as well. I believe those two factors to be quite true, but they are not my primary reason for writing. I primarily and plenarily urge you to maintain the current practice because, as I have seen in other municipalities, the current practice is administratively and legislatively the easiest to manage and causes the least engagement by current and future city staff as well as current and future councils.
The current practice at least has a foundation that not only goes back decades in Burbank, but it goes back in our nation’s history. Our nation’s founding conventions were convened and founding documents formed by non-partisan, non-political-party-driven and non-sectarian prayers. In the House of Representatives and the Senate today, even in the midst of whatever Political Correctness or Social Correctness there is, there are not only Invocations prayed, but also Chaplains assigned to each chamber. No, I am not suggesting we nominate a Council Chaplain! But the practice appears to be manageable among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, Citizens all. You have my passionate hope that it remains in Burbank for further decades to come.
One final note: I was in Cincinnati when Damar Hamlin went down on national television against the Bills. I thought it was good that the players, the coaches, the medical teams, the sportscasters, and the nation’s onlookers had one thing in common: we prayed. We didn’t take sides or choose politics and there was no separation between faith and life. And our national leaders called for prayer, inside and outside of formal government meetings. I hope you’ve read this far and I hope this letter contributes to your final outcome.
Rev. Dr. Douglas Howe