Huntsville city leaders remain tight-lipped over prayer controve - - The News for South Mississippi

Huntsville city leaders remain tight-lipped over prayer controversy

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The council revoked an invitation for a Wiccan priest to give invocation. (Source: WAFF file) The council revoked an invitation for a Wiccan priest to give invocation. (Source: WAFF file)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -  "No comment" is the only thing Huntsville city leaders would say regarding Thursday's city council prayer controversy. 

At the meeting Blake Kirk, a Wiccan priest, was uninvited from giving the invocation after council members learned his religious beliefs.

After the meeting agenda was sent out, Council President Mark Russell requested Kirk be taken off the schedule. Russell said he would not comment on the issue, and the only person who could is Huntsville City Attorney Peter Joffrion. That's also what City Administrator John Hamilton said. Peter Joffrion has not returned phone calls for nearly a week.

The city has also yet to respond to a letter from The Freedom From Religion Foundation, requesting Kirk be invited back to the council to give the invocation, and an atheist be invited to lead a moment of silence.

Wednesday's Madison County Commission meeting began with a prayer lead by the Reverend Dr. Tom Lovell of the Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church. Lovell said he was well aware of the controversy, and it saddened him that not everyone was welcome to lead meeting prayers.

"I think we need to be open to all expressions and I hope this will shed a light on the need for diversity," Lovell said.

Practicing Pagans in the area have come forward, saying the Council's actions are hurtful, but not surprising.

"Just because of the region we're in it's not very common for people to be uninformed," said Lydia Pinkston, a practicing Pagan.

Some have suggested holding a moment of silence instead of a prayer, but city leaders have yet to comment on that as well.

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