UPDATE: Council prayers will continue in wake of Wiccan invocation controversy

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – City Council signals prayers before the start of their meetings will continue and a local Wiccan spiritual leader who was uninvited to give an invocation last month will be re-invited back in the near future.

The decision reaffirms the council’s desire to continue to have an invocation. Now City Council President Mark Russell says all federally recoginized faiths will be encouraged to participate.

Blake Kirk is again scheduled to speak again in the near future.

Back in March of 2012 following the threats to sue the city over the invocation, city leaders pointed to the case of seven Atlanta-area taxpayers argued in Pelphrey v. Cobb County that the Constitution’s Establishment Clause permits only nonsectarian prayer at public meetings. The judges disagreed, saying that courts should not consider the content of legislative prayers unless they were clearly being used to proselytize or advance a particular religion.

“We’ll follow the guidelines of Pelphrey,” Joffrion told our news partners AL.com at that time.

Rev. Frank Broyles of the Interfaith Mission Service has offered to help coordinate a rotating roster of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha’i, Confucian and other leaders who could be called upon to deliver the opening prayer.

While an estimated 75 percent of Huntsville residents identify themselves as Christians, Broyles said a “spiritual landscape” survey counted 14 non-Christian faiths practiced in the Rocket City, according to information from The Huntsville Times.

at least two major national advocacy groups confirmed they have sent letters to Huntsville city leaders on this matter, those letters demanded Kirk be invited back to speak.

3 comments

  • Don

    No offense, but why would Mr. Kirk even WANT to speak again knowing the only reason he is there is because “they had to let him”.

  • Neal Haralson

    Exactly when would the speaker be invited back? Not that I don’t believe a word the city council is saying in their continued discriminatory practices, but if there is no hard and fast date, then I am betting they are trying to just shove this under the rug. Great job Huntsville – you have truly ensured that I will do all I can to not spend a dime more than I must in your city until I see you oust these individuals or at the least actually have the Wiccan speaker back.

  • Nuclear Mike

    Just plain common sense that “witches & wizards” have no place in the City Council meetings or has this Wiccan gained influence over the City Government with membership that is not public?

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