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Redwood City Suspends Opening Prayers At Council Meetings After Pastor's Controversial Words

REDWOOD CITY (KPIX 5) -- The city council in Redwood City has put opening prayers on hold after a local pastor stunned the council with some strong opening words at this week's meeting.

Pastor Stephen Converse was invited to deliver what is usually a noncontroversial invocation at the regular meeting of the Redwood City City Council.

But it turned out to be anything but. "We live in a society where the murder of human life in the womb has become commonplace and our country is being terrorized not by people from foreign lands but by the very people who are responsible to protect it," Converse said in part.

Converse is the pastor at the Grace Bible Church.

Right after the invocation, Mayor Jeff Gee was quick to express his concern. "While I do appreciate everyone's viewpoints, I do have to say that the invocation tonight was not something that I appreciated," Gee said.

"I'm really glad that they are supporting the LGBTQ community during this difficult time," said Jason Galisatus of San Mateo County's LGBTQ commission.

Speaking for himself, Galisatus says he feels the city is doing the right thing by reviewing the invocation process.

"And ensuring that the city council chambers remain a place that is safe for everybody," Galisatus said.

In a written statement, Converse said, "It's unfortunate that one simple prayer offered in good faith and concern for the moral welfare of our nation and community by a local pastor has garnered such heated criticism from the Redwood City Council."

The pastor went on to say that he didn't intend to offend anyone, but said sometimes the truth itself can be offensive.

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