“The Spiritual Needs of the Assembly Members”

“The Spiritual Needs of the Assembly Members” July 17, 2019

I wasn’t particularly surprised to read that the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Alaska has moved to end its practice of opening meetings with invocations after a Satanist gave the invocation and ended with “Hail Satan.” The borough already tried and failed to bar Satanist invocations through the courts. Since this problem clearly isn’t going to just go away, they’ve decided they’d had enough. This tends to be the Satanists’ goal—they don’t want religion and government to be intertwined. So, none of this surprised me. What did take me aback was something else.

Have a look at this bit from a memo by assembly member Willy Dunne:

Ending the practice of invocations will save the borough taxpayers’ money and reduce divisiveness in our community. It is expected that assembly members can find ways to have their spiritual needs met outside of public meetings.

What the blazes does that mean? Here, a quick replay for those in the back:

It is expected that assembly members can find ways to have their spiritual needs met outside of public meetings.

Frankly, I didn’t realize that public meetings were considered places for having your spiritual needs met. Is that what those invocations were for? If you need to put prayers in public meetings to make sure your spiritual needs are met, I have questions about your priorities during those hours you’re not attending public meetings. You have so many hours. 

The way this is stated is just so tone deaf. Of course assembly members will be able to find ways to have their spiritual needs met outside of government assemblies. Was this ever in question? Why did it even need to be stated? If you want evidence that these invocations are about turning public meetings into private church services—and not about whatever alleged secular purpose lawyers defending them surely claim they’re about—look no further.

Can you imagine being so entitled that you expect government meetings to include a segment to meet your spiritual needs? That’s some chutzpa.

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