Invocation to Continue at Borough Assembly

Aug 24, 2016

Protesters gathered in front of the George A. Navarre Borough Administration Building during an Aug. 17 protest against replacing the invocation with a moment of silence.
Credit Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

For now, the invocation will continue to be said at the start of Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meetings.

An ordinance that would have replaced the invocation, or prayer, with a moment of silence never made it to introduction at the body’s regular meeting on the evening of Tuesday Aug. 23.

The ordinance was set to be introduced by Assembly Vice President Brent Johnson, but it failed to be introduced in a four to four tie vote.

The 'yes' votes were cast by Assembly Members, Kelly Cooper, Willy Dunne, Brandii Holmdahl, and Brent Johnson. Assembly Member Stan Welles was absent.

Earlier this month an invocation by a member of the Satanic Temple was offered before the assembly sparking a protest, and a counterprotest.

The issue has drawn emotional public testimony at Assembly meetings.

Local religious leaders have testified in support of keeping the invocation. While some residents have said that prayer at a public meeting is inappropriate – and that the invocation, as practiced, seems exclusionary to non-Judeo-Christian faiths.