(AP) 1/20/03- Orange County city councils are accepting a new reality for the new year - God is welcome at their meetings, but Jesus isn't. That's the result of a California appellate court ruling that the Supreme Court let stand last month. Orange County city councils are now starting to comply with the ruling.
Referring to God in opening prayers is all right, but referring to Jesus or any other specific religious figure promotes a particular religion and is therefore unconstitutional, the court ruled.
This has prompted at least five Orange County cities - San Clemente, Fullerton, Buena Park, Laguna Niguel and La Palma - to put out new or reinforced policies.
"This is indicative of how confused we are, spiritually speaking, about what God is," said Pastor Ron Sukut of Cornerstone Community Church in San Clemente. He declined to give his invocation at Wednesday's council meeting after he was told he couldn't mention Jesus. "I think we have a constitutional right to choose which God we're praying to," Sukut said. "Taking that right away is what's unconstitutional."