City Council prayer leader not posted following Wiccan controver - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

City Council prayer leader not posted following Wiccan controversy

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No name is listed as to who will give the prayer at Thursday's city council meeting No name is listed as to who will give the prayer at Thursday's city council meeting
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Thursday will be the first Huntsville City Council meeting since a Wiccan priest was uninvited to pray at last month's meeting. 

Although the invocation is the first item on the agenda, no name is listed as to who will give the prayer. On all previous agendas, besides the June 26 agenda, the name and denomination of the person giving the invocation was listed. 

City Council President Mark Russell, City Attorney Peter Joffrion and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle all declined interviews about the incident. Battle did issue a written statement.

"The City of Huntsville supports diversity in public prayer," said Battle in his statement. "We are committed to the goals of the Inclusive Communities Initiative, and that includes broader representation in the spiritual and cultural landscape during invocation before City Council meetings. Since 2012, the Interfaith Mission Service has guided the selection process for these invocations, and we are grateful for their assistance in providing greater diversity in public prayer. We trust their decisions in exposing us to new and different faiths."

Blake Kirk, the Wiccan priest who's invocation was canceled, did talk to reporters. He said that he was informed the decision to rescind the prayer offer was made over fears and concerns from other people in the community.

Thursday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers of the Municipal building.

The city has not responded to a FOIA request for how many complaints the city council received about Kirk giving the invocation. That request included all emails containing "Wiccan," "prayer," or "invocation."

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