The Vader City Council has chosen to include prayer at the beginning of their meetings in light of a recent US Supreme Court decision upholding the practice in Town of Greece v. Galloway.
Approved unanimously during the council’s Thursday meeting, the concept had been introduced by Council Member Kevin Flynn, who said the court’s decision contradicts some popular perceptions that public officials are disallowed from expressing their faith within the function of their office, and secures their right to freely do so.
Other council members, such as Mark Fenison, said the inclusion of prayer harkens back to practices in America’s past where expressions of faith by government officials, and during government functions, were more common, including church services once held in the Capitol Building at Washington DC.
But some members of the public were quick to point out what they feel is hypocrisy on the part of Vader’s leadership with regard to civil liberties, with resident Don Davidson stating he feels the Council is being selective in which freedoms they do and do not uphold.
Davidson told the Council he feels, as the individual expected to oversee growth of recreational marijuana for Seattle developer Brandon Milton, their pushback against Milton’s proposal indicates a double standard, as recreational marijuana growth is now legal yet the council insists on banning such facilities due to their own moral opposition to the substance.
Davidson said, as a self-professed Christian, he feels it is inappropriate for one person to uphold their own moral obligations while denying someone else the same, though council members said the proposed marijuana facility was unrelated to their decision to include prayer at meetings, insisting again that doing so has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
It was also mentioned the Council does not intend to ally themselves to a particular denomination when offering prayer, as the members of the council stated they have a variety of denominational backgrounds and are currently attending different churches.
Faith within Vader’s leadership has been a hot-button issue during Mayor Ken Smith’s administration, as Smith is a professed Mormon and opposition to his beliefs have co-mingled with opposition to his leadership in recent political rhetoric. It is notable Smith was not present for the portion of the meeting when prayer was approved as he had a previous engagement at that time in Centralia.