The other side: Prayer Case Plaintiff speaks out on local radio show

LANCASTER – Shelley Rubin, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit aimed at stopping the City of Lancaster from opening City Council meetings with prayer, is gearing up for a lengthy battle with the City. Rubin is no stranger to this issue. Her late husband, Irv Rubin, won a similar battle against the City of Burbank 10 years ago.

Rubin was a featured guest Monday on “Chasing the Why*,” a local radio show on KOSS 1380, hosted by Lancaster resident Andrew Pari. During the hour-long interview she covered many topics, including the similar case her husband won against the City of Burbank, her motivation for the lawsuit, her reaction to her initial loss, and her plans for the case.

The following are some excerpts from Rubin’s interview.

On why her late husband waged a similar battle – and won – against the City of Burbank 10 years ago:

“Before the [Burbank City] meeting started they had an invocation that was made in the name of Jesus and it really really hit my husband very hard. He moved here with his parents from Canada. He used to dream as a child of being an American because this is a place where there is freedom of religion and in Canada he remembered no Jews or dogs allowed on some businesses… so my husband went to one of his attorneys, Roger Diamond of Santa Monica, and they filed a suit against the City of Burbank …and the state of California, the judges here overwhelming supported my husband that it was wrong to have denominational prayers at city council meetings, and the state appellant court upheld it.”

On why she decided to file a similar lawsuit against the City of Lancaster:

“We got word that the City of Lancaster was trying to circumvent the rule of land in California with this ballot measure that overwhelming passed by the voters…I went to the first City Council meeting after that vote and a minister, I can’t remember his name, he is African American… he is there all the time. He got up and made statements in his leadup to his invocation that really really bothered me. It made me feel like I was an outsider. I thought he was very disrespectful, and then he gives this lovely lovely prayer asking for wisdom and tenacity and whatever for the City Council, and then he says ‘we say this in Jesus name’… He is not forbidden to do that, that’s the problem. In fact, the City of Lancaster wants them to do that…”

On her co-plaintiff, Lancaster resident Maureen Feller:

“She knows so much about the City, the inner workings of your City Council, and all this meshugge, as we say in Yiddish, all this craziness… that your City leader seems to have a hold on that City.”

On why Shelley Rubin and Maureen I. Feller v. City of Lancaster bypassed the state courts:

 “Instead of letting the case proceed in the state courts, the City decided to pull a fast one and kick it up to the Federal Courts where they felt that they would have a better chance. And when they got the notification that was done, they acted like it was a big victory, but it wasn’t a victory. It was a procedural thing. And needless to say, they were allowed to do it as a matter of fact. But our point was that they went ahead and they violated the laws of this state by encouraging sectarian prayer. But they evidently wanted to waste more of the tax payers’ money and take it up to the Federal level… By the luck of the draw they got a conservative judge and she ruled their way.”

On U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer’s ruling in favor of the City of Lancaster:

“I feel that Judge Fischer was nitpicking and she made a big point of saying ‘was it there’ and ‘when was this’? I don’t think she wanted the job of decided this… I was disappointed in this… Since we did lose, I did pay the fees to appeal and we are definitely appealing.”

On the future of Shelley Rubin and Maureen I. Feller v. City of Lancaster:

“I believe this case will go to the Supreme Court… I think we are going to make history.”

Read the Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law After Prayer Case. Read the Judgment here.


(*Chasing The Why is a call-in talk radio show that addresses social issues and controversies in the Antelope Valley.  CTW airs every Monday at 11am on KOSS 1380am (livestream at with host, Andrew Pari, L.C.S.W.  Informative, entertaining and always open to debate.  We’re not afraid to ask.  Are you afraid to listen?  Come on, join us…. let’s chase some whys!)

  17 comments for “The other side: Prayer Case Plaintiff speaks out on local radio show

  1. thomas pari
    September 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Until America gets religion off its back it will always walk with a stoop through history!

  2. Miffed American
    September 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Rubin has nothing better to do but be the liber she is and tell us she needs to think for us.

    • September 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      A “liber??” She’s a god of wine? Not sure what you are trying to say here, though I am fairly certain that you don’t either.

  3. Common Sense
    September 1, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I went to the first City Council meeting after that vote and a minister, I can’t remember his name, he is African American… he is there all the time. He got up and made statements in his leadup to his invocation that really really bothered me. It made me feel like I was an outsider. I thought he was very disrespectful, and then he gives this lovely lovely prayer asking for wisdom and tenacity and whatever for the City Council, and then he says ‘we say this in Jesus name’…

    That man, my dear, was none other than Henry Hearns! And, yes dear Miss Rubin, you are in fact an “outsider”…you don’t live here but you want to dictate local policy. How lovely!

    • Mel
      September 1, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Kudos to Ms. Ruben for being strong enough to fight for her constitutional rights, and rights of anyone in this City who does not subscribe to conservative Christian philosophy. We are a part of this town to and we don’t deserve to be force fed your beliefs! Just as you think our beliefs are wrong, we may think Christian beliefs are wrong too. We are not pushing a free thinking philosophy on you, so don’t push your prayers on us!It is not just my opinion, it is the right guaranteed to us in the constitution! And how dare you label anyone an outsider? Newsflash: This is not a private members only City. For that matter Ms. Rubin is teaming with someone from Lancaster so there is proof that not every resident of this City feels the way you do! You call yourself Common Sense but there is absolutely nothing sensible about your divisive comments!!!

    • Maureen
      September 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

      She may not live here but I do! And this forcing our religion on everyone and anyone who comes to our city council is some of the most UN-American BS I’ve ever seen. Add to that the millions in resources we’ve given to a couple of select Christian churches and actually involving LBC in government procedures, comes down to the establishment of a religion in our city. There is NO difference between what is being pushed in Lancaster, and a Muslim church trying to push Sharia law! Wake up people.

  4. D. Drake
    August 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    What is this distance you speak of between government and religion? Our country was founded on Christian principles! That’s why ‘In God We Trust’ sits proudly atop our currency. I remember growing up when we prayed in school and pledged allegiance to the flag. Banning prayer in schools was the first stop on the train ride to moral decline for our society. Now we have kids shooting up schools and teachers sleeping with students. Now we are trying to ban prayer from City meetings, AGAINST the will of the people that live here. We stood together to make our voices heard and voted overwhelmingly to keep prayer in City meetings. Now this woman with no claims or ties to this City wants to take that away from us. She came to the City meeting specifically to take this right away from us. Lucky for us our brave leaders are prepared to fight to the end to keep the will of the people!

    • September 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      I am going to begin in good faith thinking that this response is a joke mocking Christians, since it is replete with factual errors and misinformation.
      On the outside chance that it isn’t, I’ll cover a few points.
      The country was not founded on “Christian principles” whatever that actually means. (Unless you mean those Christian principles that include committing genocide on native peoples and enslaving others to build the economy. The country WAS founded on those ideals.)
      America was founded on the liberation from oppressive religious views. Our founding fathers, whom Christians love to portray as staunch Christian conservatives, wrote, argued and put into policy and law the fact that we are NOT a Christian country and, in fact, bear allegience to no specific religion. This is why we have the 1st Amendment. It exists to protect BOTH government AND religion from undue influence from the other.
      The “against the will of the people” comment is silly to anyone who understands basic constitutional law. A majority cannot vote down a constitutionally held right or law, especially those that protect a minority group. Otherwise the majority in any given situation would hold tyranny over the minority they disagreed with. Democracy doesn’t work that way.
      I won’t go into the whole “in god we trust” debacle as you can easily do the research yourself. Suffice to say, it was pushed through in the 50’s during the McCarthy era. Let’s not even get into the shame most religious people should feel about mixing god and money together. Didn’t JC have a few choice words on that topic?
      From Thomas Jefferson through Abraham Lincoln and beyond, the greatest leaders of this country have stood firm that NO ONE religion holds sway over another AND that Christianity in particular has no bearing whatsoever on the founding of this country.
      Go read some history.

      • T. Lamont
        September 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm


      • Stinger
        September 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

        These local “christians,” as these cultmembers like to call themselves, do not believe in facts or history – they simply make it up as they go along to suit their agenda in creating a theocracy of the Antelope Valley. This is why they attack Ledford so much; he will not let them get away with it in Palmdale like Parris does in Lancaster.

        Everybody (who has a functioning sense of reason and has actually read early American history) knows that the original and official motto of the United States of America is, “E Pluribus Unum” (roughly translated to mean. “Out of many, One”). This debacle of religiousity in Lancaster is in direct opposition to the principles of the founders of our nation.

      • Laura Roland
        September 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        Very well said, Andrew. I think people sometimes tend to lose site of the actual facts and run fast and blind with the rhetoric. It’s good to bring them back around to the truth occasionally — even if they don’t want to see it.

        • September 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

          Thanks, Laura.
          Chasing the Why is continuing to stir the pot tomorrow with our show on Senate Bill 48, the so-called gay education law.
          Here’s our FB promo:

          SB 48 mandates the teaching in CA schools of the contributions of gays/lesbians. Is this just the next step in basic tolerance and acceptance in education or is it the promotion of a deeper agenda? With the new school year starting up, Chasing the Why will be talking about this issue with you and guest Julie Buchanan-Plaisance. Tomorrow, 11am on KOSS 1380AM. Call in:661/266-4420.

  5. August 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Good article and thank you for the mention.
    I do want to point out, and I think we made it clear during the program, that this issue is not about “taking rights” away from any particular religion as some like to frame it. It’s about restoring the constitutional rights we all have under the 1st Amendment to keeping distance between the interests of government and that of religion.

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