Honorable Council Member Morgan,
it is advisable …. to enlist best practices to seek to obtain a diverse panel of guest chaplains and to insure that no one attending a Council meeting feels coerced. Some suggestions include:
- No person attending a city council meeting should be required to participate in any prayer.
- Neither the council nor the clerk should ask about or review the content of any prayer.
- No City official should ask the audience to take any overt act either (bow head, stand up, etc.).
- The clerk should not remove a congregation from the list of invitees or refuse to include one.
- No speaker should offer a prayer at consecutive meetings or at more than three meetings in a year.
- Hold invocations at the beginning of meetings.
- Have a written statement acknowledging that the invocation policy is open to all and that the prayers are not intended to advance, proselytize, or disparage any one faith over others.
- Publicize that the invocation is open to anyone by posting on the City website and/or announcing at Council meetings.
- Actively reach out to non-traditional faith groups to increase the diversity of invocation speakers.