Waverly city leaders discuss prayer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly city leaders discuss prayer

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Waverly city leaders are working to decide whether there should be prayer or any type of invocation during city council meetings.

This move comes after Eastern Iowa Atheist Director, Justin Scott, addressed the city council in April and May to ask Mayor Charles Infelt if someone from a different belief could lead the monthly prayer or invocation.

According to law, it's all right to have prayer during city council meetings.

As long as the prayers or invocations do not promote religion, it serves a significant secular purpose, and it doesn't foster excessive entanglement between government and religion, it's legal.

Waverly Mayor and former Lutheran Pastor Charles Infelt begins the first city council meeting of every month with prayer, and he says he does it to bring people together.

"I was trying to be very very careful as mayor with my background, to be inclusive of all traditions, but we can do that in new expressions now as we celebrate our diversity, but also in terms of we are a Judeo-Christian tradition country with a deep sense of Theism we also honor," Mayor Infelt said.

While some members agree with the mayor, others like retired Lutheran Pastor and member of the same congregation, Mike Sherer, said city meetings aren't the place for prayer.

"For me, that's in sacred spaces, that's in your homes, that's in places where you're with like-minded people," Sherer said.

While city council members and the Waverly mayor disagree about prayer during city council meetings, Eastern Iowa Atheist Director Justin Scott says he's all right with the idea, as long as members from all groups can deliver it.

"We're here to say, 'this is not an inclusive practice. Could you just open it up to more?' And, then when you continue to show up to meeting after meeting, and you get the sense, that not only is the mayor unwilling to change, but then he becomes defiant when he has an opportunity to show real leadership for the community. That's what's frustrating."

According to Mayor Infelt, he says he would be all right with the idea of a non-theist person delivering the monthly invocation or prayer, and he said the next city council meeting will likely be different.

The next meeting is set for June 5.

If you would like to review the last Waverly city council meeting, you can click here

More meetings are also posted, as well.

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