Kennewick community members weigh in on council’s Legislative Prayer discussion

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The battle over legislative prayer continues after the Kennewick city council postponed their decision on the matter.

That didn’t stop people from both sides of the aisle from talking about it, especially during the meeting’s public comment section.

“You’re praying to a deity, God, you’re not praying to Mohammed or anybody else. You’re praying to God,” said Ira Johnson.

He hasn’t been to a lot of city council meetings lately, but when he learned legislative prayer was on the agenda, he wanted to make his voice heard.

“We need prayer,” Johnson said. “We need all the help the city council can get, and it’s for them. It’s not for us. It’s for the City Council.”

In fact, the proposal brought many people from Kennewick to Tuesday’s meeting. Some to speak up, and others to observe.

“I thought there would be a few more fireworks than there were,” said Kendell Millbauer.

If the proposal of legislative prayer is passed through the council, any established place of worship would be permitted to perform the prayer, of any faith.

Despite Johnson supporting the proposal, he’s not prepared to welcome those of all faith backgrounds.

When asked about his thoughts about non-Christian faiths brought in to perform the prayer, Johnson responded, “If they believe in God, they can come. That’s what I’d say about that. They gotta believe in God.”

“That’s not what America stands for,” said Kendell Millbauer, “That’s not a part of inclusion, and we should be respectful of all faiths.”

Kendall Millbauer of Kennewick said while she considers herself a woman of faith, she doesn’t think prayer has a place at council meetings.

She said, “I am more than happy to talk to people about religion and about why I believe what I do…when I’m asked.”

Millbauer believes the proposal is nothing more than a distraction from city business.

“I don’t think it has a place in being delivered to city councilmen and women when they have so many more pressing things to do,” Millbauer said.

Due to a council member’s absence at the previous week’s workshop discussing legislative prayer, the council passed a motion to postpone the vote for another council meeting.

READ: Kennewick city council postpones the vote on legislative prayer

That didn’t sit well with Johnson.

He said, “How many more times you gonna postpone it? How many times have they postponed, just deciding on what to do about ethics, you know? I know they’ve talked that thing to death.”

The council agreed to add voting on legislative prayer to the agenda for their August 16 meeting.

KAPP-KVEW Local News will be keeping you updated as this story progresses

READ: Kennewick City Council debates adding prayer to meetings