KENAI, Alaska — The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is set to consider a measure that would revise the policy on invocations at its meetings.
The proposal creating formal guidelines for invocation rules is on the agenda for the assembly’s next meeting on Tuesday, The Peninsula Clarion reported (http://bit.ly/2dJKcAg).
The resolution prohibits members of the assembly from directing the public to participate in the prayer and making note of a person’s absence or presence. Assembly President Blaine Gilman would also be required to tell meeting attendees they aren’t obligated to participate in the prayer and that they may stand or sit as they prefer — something that he started doing earlier this year.
The proposal comes after public outcry following an August meeting that began with an invocation from a member of the Satanic Temple.
Iris Fontana had encouraged attendees of the meeting to “embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge.” She closed her comments with, “Hail Satan. Thank you.”
The incident prompted two assembly members to file two ordinances related to the invocation, one replacing it with a moment of silence and another eliminating it entirely. Both were shot down by the assembly.
The new resolution set to go before the assembly next week would allow anyone on an “Associations List” to offer invocations. The list would be created by the borough clerk and include religious organizations with an established presence in the borough and chaplains that have submitted requests to deliver the invocation.
“The policy is intended to be and shall be applied in a way that is all-inclusive of every diverse religious association serving the residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough,” the resolution states. “The Association List is compiled and used for purposes of logistics, efficiency, and equal opportunity for all of the community’s religious leaders, who may themselves choose whether to respond to the assembly’s invitation and participate.”
Gilman and assembly member Dale Bagley sponsored the resolution.
Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com