Grand Junction City, Colorado, has an interesting way of deciding who will give the invocation at the start of each city council meeting. It’s also designed to give the predominately Christian community an edge — although that may change thanks to the actions of one particular atheist.
Speakers are chosen for the invocation via lottery. Anyone who wants to give an invocation can have their name put into the pool, and the City Clerk contacts the winner. In a predominately Christian community, it’s a pretty easy way to almost always ensure you have a Christian invocation at the start of each city council meeting.
So it’s easy to see why Christians would like this system.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the lottery system led to someone who isn’t a Christian being chosen, and that’s why atheist Scott Iles would up “winning” the speaking slot for the August 2 meeting.
Rather than actually speak, however, Iles — a member of the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, who has wanted to rectify the issue with the invocation policy for a long time — instead donated his speaking slot to a local Satanist.
According to Iles:
“We came up with the idea that it would be really cool if (Satanists) did the invocation just to shake things up. I’m an atheist myself and I don’t believe that the invocation should have any part to play in city government or any kind of government.”
The goal was to make the city council as uncomfortable as possible — and it’s working. According to Councilor Duke Wortmann, “I’m definitely worried. As a Christian, you worry about the influence of the dark one.”
Wortmann isn’t the only one, either. Other city councilors expressed similar concern, with several of them suggesting that a moment of silence may be an improvement, and one councilor even suggesting that now might be the time to revisit the policy and change it.
Funny how that always seems to be the case, isn’t it?