Kennewick city council postpones the vote on legislative prayer

Legislative Prayer was on the agenda for Tuesday's Kennewick City Council meeting...but it hasn't been settled quite yet.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Community members thought the debate over ‘Legislative Prayer’ would come to a conclusion at Tuesday night’s Kennewick city council meeting. The council, however, postponed the vote to a future council meeting. They did this because one council member was absent when they discussed it at the previous week’s workshop meeting.

 

The council suggested holding off on this vote until councilman Loren Anderson has had time to catch up. Councilman Anderson was not at the workshop the previous week to hear the presentation of the city attorney Lisa Beaton and discussion by the council.

“I just would like some time to digest the whole thing. You know, I just didn’t want to make a vote or decision tonight; it will be hasty,” said Councilman Anderson.

Mayor Pro Tem Gretl Crawford said, “I’m wondering if we can make a motion to give him to our next council meeting potentially before a vote, so that you can have information to make a decision.”

Voting postponed

The council passed the motion to postpone voting on adding prayer to council meetings 6-1. The one member who voted against holding the vote until another meeting was councilman John Trumbo. Trumbo is the leading advocate for legislative prayer on the city council.

After the council held a lengthy presentation about the precedence of prayer at council meetings and a split council, many thought there would be a motion on Tuesday. Legislative Prayer was on the council’s agenda under, ‘New Business.’

Any established place of worship could hold prayer at the beginning of Kennewick city council meetings if the council were to approve this proposal, so long as they fall within the guidelines that would be set by the council. But before those parameters can be set, the council must approve the proposal. Then begin their work on deciding where they may find places of worship to perform these prayers.

READ: Kennewick City Council debates adding prayer to meetings

This council meeting was open to public comment, and many community members spoke, sharing how they felt regarding adding prayer to the Kennewick city council meetings.

Statements made by community members during the public comment section:

  • “I see no reason why we can’t pray before City Council.”
  • “This entire subject is a distraction from the work that the city council should be doing. And I’m opposed to it. Thank you.”
  • “Please help me understand how prayer at council meetings will help fulfill your duties in representing all Kennewick citizens.”
  • “People like to say we have to keep Church and State separate. Then why did our forefathers pray every meeting for so long?”
  • “I have been the recipient of the power of prayer. I do not believe in prayer at governmental meetings, including our city council meetings.”

A suggestion by several community and council members was a moment of silence, to be used for everyone of any faith or no faith to take a moment and pray or reflect silently to themselves. Some said this would be inclusive of all faiths, and not divisive.

This is an ongoing story and will be updated.