Muscatine City Council Invocation Policy
- This policy is not intended, and shall not be implemented or construed in any way to affiliate the City Council with, nor express the Council's endorsement or preference for any faith or religious denominations. Rather, this policy is intended to acknowledge and express the City Council's respect for the diversity of both organized and unorganized religious denominations, as well as other faiths, belief systems, or the lack thereof, represented and practiced among the citizens of the City of Muscatine.
- In order to solemnize proceedings of the City Council, it is the policy of the City Council to allow for an invocation or prayer, not to exceed two (2) minutes, to open its meetings for the benefit of the City Council and the community.
- The invocation shall be listed on the agenda prior to regular agenda items for the meeting so that it may be clear the invocation is not considered a part of the public business.
- No member of the City Council, City employee, or any other person in attendance at a meeting shall be required to participate in any invocation that is offered.
- Neither the City Council, City Clerk, nor City staff shall engage in any prior inquiry, review of, restriction, or involvement in, the content of any prayer or invocation to be offered.
- In the event the scheduled invocational speaker fails to appear or there is no scheduled speaker, the City Council shall observe a moment of silence.
- To maintain a spirit of respect and ecumenism, the invocation shall not be exploited as an opportunity to proselytize nor disparage any faith or belief, or lack thereof, different from that of the invocational speaker.
- Any invocational speaker who violates this policy shall be subject to disqualification from offering future invocations.
- To ensure that invocational speakers are selected without preference to any specific religion, belief, faith, or ideology, from amongst a diverse pool of Muscatine citizens, volunteers shall be selected according to the following procedure:
- The invocation shall be voluntarily delivered, without compensation, by any person who is a resident of Muscatine and on the list of volunteers, which shall be maintained by the City Clerk's Office. The City Clerk shall include any resident on the list upon submission of written request including the person's local address and contact information, including e-mail.
- Within thirty (30) days of the adoption of this policy, and on or about July 1 of each calendar year thereafter, the City Clerk shall e-mail one invitation addressed to potential volunteer groups for delivery of the invocation and will also enable submitting a request to volunteer to provide the invocation on its website. The invitation shall state the following:
- The City Council makes it a policy to invite residents of the City of Muscatine to voluntarily offer an invocation or prayer not to exceed one minutes in length before the beginning of its meetings.
- If you are willing to assist the City Council in this regard, please send a reply at your earliest convenience to the City Clerk. Volunteer invocational speakers are scheduled on a first-come, first- serve basis. The dates of the City Council's regularly scheduled meetings for the upcoming fiscal year are listed on the following, attached page. If you have a preference among the dates, please state that request in your written reply.
- This opportunity is voluntary, and you are free to offer the invocation according to the dictates of your own conscience. The City requests that the content of the invocation align with a tone suitable for conducting the business of the City.
- To maintain a spirit of respect and ecumenism, the City Council requests only that the opportunity not be exploited as an effort to proselytize, i.e., convert others to the particular faith of the speaker, nor to disparage any faith or belief different than that of the speaker.
- On behalf of the City Council, I thank you in advance for considering this invitation.
- Respondents to the invitation shall be scheduled by the City Clerk on a first come, first-serve basis. The City Clerk shall schedule and notify the volunteer, by email, of the date and time the speaker should be prepared to offer the invocation or prayer. The notice shall remind the speaker of the duty not to proselytize nor disparage others' religions, faiths, beliefs, or lack thereof, and of the two-minute time limitation.
- No invocational speaker shall be scheduled to offer an invocation at consecutive meetings, or at more than three Council Meetings in any calendar year.