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Lodi prays to 'Deity Supreme,' not Jesus, after atheists complain

A prayer before Lodi's City Council on Wednesday asked for meditation on the "transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme."

Lodi made national headlines in 2009 when an atheist group threatened a lawsuit over the frequently long prayers centered around Jesus that marked the beginning of council meetings.

The council considered ending the prayer tradition to avoid a possibly expensive lawsuit, but in the end voted for non-denominational invocations, and invited people of all faiths to offer a blessing.

They were pilloried by religious groups that waged a campaign to "keep Jesus in Lodi" as well as by atheist groups that argued prayer was against separation of church and state and marred government efficiency.

The Stockton Record reported that on Wednesday night, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed called the moment historic before offering his prayer.

Dressed in bright orange clothing, he chanted in Sanskrit: "Om. Bhur bhuvah svah. Tat Savitur varenyam. Bhagao devasya dhimahi. Dhiyo you nah prachodayat. We meditate of the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heaven. May he stimulate and illuminate our minds."


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-- Diana Marcum in Fresno

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