Six members of the public addressed the council about April 25 lecture on Christian Nationalism at county-owned library

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero City Council met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 14, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers. 

During the Community Forum, six residents brought concerns to the council about an Atascadero Democratic Club (ADC) meeting held on April 25 at the Atascadero Public Library. At the meeting, resident Gordon Fuglie, husband to Councilmember Susan Funk, lectured on Christian Nationalism and the possible rise of it in the current presidential campaign. 

Many of the speakers in attendance said that they are Bible-believing, Republican Christians who went to the lecture to learn more about Christian Nationalism.   


Paso Robles resident Becky Hallett, who grew up in Atascadero was also at the ADC meeting. There she said that there was a verbal attack on the Atascadero Republican Women Federated.

“A slide was shown with our newsletter,” Hallett said. “They were trying to pinpoint and actually tie the Atascadero Republican Women Federated to Christian Nationalism, MAGA Trumpers, and a very dangerous political movement behind a certain political campaign. The rhetoric and propaganda that was spewn at this meeting was very harmful and hateful and incited fear and division amongst the people there.” 

The newsletter is called the “Trumpeter,” and the members of the Atascadero Republican Women Federated who attended said that they corrected Fuglie on his facts concerning the origins of the newsletter publicly at the meeting. Earlier in the lineup, Gary Lehrer had stated that the name of the newsletter has been the same since the 1950s. 

“I didn’t come here expecting to speak, but I do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is my hero,” stated resident Dan Hathaway. “Donald Trump is just a man running for president.” 

Hathaway also asked the council to take a leadership role and not allow things like what happened at the library to occur and to address the hate coming from both sides. 

Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno replied that the City Council is not responsible for what goes on at the library.

“With regards to the speakers who brought up the presentation that was at the library: The library is county property. County-owned and county-run, and so the city doesn’t have any jurisdiction over whether something occurs at the Atascadero Library. I think that comes as a surprise to a lot of people because it is the Atascadero Library,” she said. “So with regards to whether hate speech or whatever that might be and if you’re thinking that it shouldn’t happen there, then I would go to the county and see what that policy is and how that resolution that they did affects that.”

Moreno was then addressed by Councilmember Funk and responded that she did not want to speak anymore on items brought up at Community Forum. City Manager Jim Lewis stated that under the Brown Act, Funk is allowed to respond to topics brought up but that the running of the meeting was up to the presiding officer, which was Moreno. Funk asked for two sentences of response and addressed the item.

“Just a note, as someone who also holds Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, that we’ve made it through 12 years of having a councilmember who had a spouse who would regularly in public sphere and frequently cause controversy and things,” Funk stated in her response. “We all made it through that, and we can all manage to recognize that councilmembers have spouses who themselves do research and have opinions and express themselves in groups that we rent public spaces. We’ll all make it through that.”

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m.