Written by Don Byrd
In St. Croix County, Wisconsin, residents are speaking out over the invitation of a local Islamic Society representative to deliver the opening invocation at the county’s board meeting. The county administrator asked for an invocation from the Muslim leader In an effort to be more inclusive in inviting clergy to participate.
Sadly, some members of the community responded with bias and hostility about the Muslim faith. But many others offered support. Here is an excerpt from the Hudson Star-Observer report describing statements made by attendees during the public comment period after the invocation.
“As the St. Croix County continues to grow and diversify we ask that you recognize that not all of us hold the same beliefs nor do we practice the same religion,” [Kelly] Geurkink said. “In general we ask that our government representatives be neutral on matters of faith.”
Speaking after the meeting, [Darla] Meyers said her presence there was to educate. She said she believes the United States is a Christian nation, and the God of Islam is not a Christian God.
“We are in agreement with different religions being allowed for the invocation but only so far as they wish to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” Meyers said.
Geurkink said after the meeting she felt having an invocation is inappropriate for a government function, but told the board members if it remains on the agenda they should continue to support diversity.
The county intends to continue the practice of offering invocations from diverse faiths during meetings.