DEVELOPING: National spotlight on Huntsville following Wiccan invocation controversy

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Less than 24 hours after a Huntsville Wiccan priest was invited, then uninvited to give the invocation at city council Thursday night due to "community fears," several national organizations are demanding the city apologize.

Blake and Carol Kirk (Photo: Matt Kroschel/WHNT News 19)

Blake and Carol Kirk (Photo: Matt Kroschel/WHNT News 19)

Thousands of people have read and shared the story on social media, and Friday afternoon at least two major national advocacy groups confirmed they have sent letters to Huntsville city leaders.

WHNT News 19 obtained two of those letters.

Letter From American United For Separation Of Church and State

Letter From Freedom From Religion Foundation

We reached out to Huntsville city leaders again Friday, who again directed all requests for comments on the issue to the city attorney who has not returned our calls.

As of Friday afternoon, the story WHNT News 19 was first to report had been shared more than 3,000 times on Facebook and has dozens of comments on



  • Leslie

    People have their own beliefs, but they have to share the country. The US is not a Christian nation and it was never intended to be. Yes, our founding fathers had *beliefs*, but they also had favorite foods, etc.; they were human. Must we have a preferred, national color based on what they wore?

  • Nuclear Mike

    Somehow…”witchcraft” is just not what the Founding Fathers had in mind either…and for the record…”The word witch derives from Middle English wicche, Old English wicce (/ˈwɪttʃe/) (feminine) “witch” and wicca (/ˈwɪttʃɑ/) (masculine) “wizzard”.” Wicca (English pronunciation: /ˈwɪkə/) is a modern pagan, witchcraft religion. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and it was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant.”

  • Fred Williamson

    Christians are only for free religious expression when it suits them. No one else need apply. They are no different than the Muslim Taliban in many regards. They wanted sectarian prayer at Government functions, now they have it. Deal with it, Christians. You cannot deny to another the rights you proclaim for yourself.

  • Janet Davis

    @Fred Williamson

    Christians are quickly becoming the most persecuted people on the planet, members of a religion that is most hated & misunderstood. All I can say to the Wiccan community is “welcome to the club”, doesn’t feel good does it?


    No, we were not established as a Christian nation, we were established as a nation for those who wanted to escape religious persecution, to have the freedom to practice the religion we CHOSE. As for our constitution, it states that the government “shall establish no religion”, but there’s not a word about separation of church & state. As for prayers at Senate/Congress/City Council meetings? At most of these meetings more than one member of the clergy is present in an attempt to lead all in different prayers. It’s not perfect, but they do try.

    • Bob

      Janet Davis, exactly how Christians are being persecuted? In this case prayers given at these meetings are almost exclusively Christian, how does that persecute them? How does it persecute them to allow someone of another faith to give an Invocation? Wiccans are a recognized religion in this country, Wiccans and Pagans in general have a fairly large following in the area and under the Constitution have the exact same rights as Christians, again how does this “persecute” Christians. It sounds like you are instead asking for preferential treatment because you are Christian. The founders of this nation came from backgrounds and understood the history of religious persecution and deliberately excluded religion from our government for very good reasons. They did this regardless of their personal beliefs. There was much discussion on this subject during the Constitutional Convention. They decided it was better to have a government not designed around a particular religion. Some were fleeing from a government that even mandated which prayers could be said in a “Book of Common Prayer”. These were men of the Enlightenment who understood the dangers of forming a government based on religion and worked against it. The type of exclusion here clearly goes against the intent of those men. The first amendment was based largely on Jeffersons Virgina Constitution and it is in his words describing the U.S. Constitution to a Baptist minister that the term “Wall of Separation” was first coined. Since he established the foundations for that amendment it seems pretty clear he would know what he meant. Allowing other faiths to give invocations, if prayers and Invocations are going to be allowed at all, is fundamental to our religious freedom as such it must be open to all religions even those individuals of other faiths may find distastefull. This includes Christians, Muslims, Pagans, Wiccans, Hindus, Budhists, Satanists, Atheists, and any other faith or non belief who wishes to speak.

  • Angry citizen

    They won’t give a reply because they are to busy doing damage control. A wise old man once told me that subordinates are a direct reflection of their leadership. Maybe that’s why Huntsville cops think it’s appropriate to choke a young man, shove a pen down his throat, and then not find any evidence and try and was their hands after the suspect dies. Maybe it’s a leadership issue, maybe the Mighty Tommy Battle needs to get his people straightened up, or GTFO. I hope the city gets sued, for this violation and for allowing the police to kill that boy.

  • terri m b

    I am sad you start with pagan and athiest as your national support. Hindu, jews and others may have been a better choice. The summer soltice begins we have been given plenty as we mow lawns twice a week in hopes the bounty produces the fruit for new life as the next season of our lives begin

  • Christopher Blackwell

    The simple matter is it is required by law. I am sorry if some Christians feel uncomfortable listening to a non-Christian invocation at city council . However now you know what it feels like when people of all other religions, and non-believers, are forced to listen to only Christian invocation at city council when everyone pays the taxes that support all government at all layers. The government is supposed to represent everyone not just the Christians or the wealthy. As to the claim in our country that Christians are being persecuted, you only mean they have lost having special rights and running roughshod over everyone else.

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