I saw the ad in The Californian's Jan. 19 edition for the 33rd annual Bakersfield Prayer Breakfast, scheduled for Jan. 31.

Perhaps this is not an "official" city of Bakersfield event, but that's certainly the impression that's given, under the aegis of the Bakersfield city logo.

It's very difficult to not notice the decidedly Christian flavor of the ad: the cross imagery, the Ephesians scriptural reference and, of course, the statement of purpose: "to bring citizens together in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ to offer gratitude and praise to God and to pray for our community, government and leaders."

In a city with a rich multicultural and diverse ethnicity as Bakersfield, it is inexcusable that a citywide event such as the Prayer Breakfast would be so notably exclusionary. The same folks who rail mightly against theocratic heavy-handedness when it occurs in another country need to take a look in the mirror. This event has, in the past, been inclusive of Bakersfieldians of all religious backgrounds. When did it become a Christian event?

Perhaps our own theocrats have an agenda in mind, to the exclusion of many of our friends and neighbors.

Robert Smith, DMD