Deborah Maynard, a Wiccan priestess, has been invited to give the invocation to the Iowa House of Representatives on April 9th.
Maynard, a member of the People’s Church Unitarian Universalist, was invited by Rep. Liz Bennett (D).
“I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal, until I did more research on it,” she said. “The more research I did on it, that’s when I found that it’s never been done in a state government body before by a Wiccan.”
A 2014 Supreme Court ruling allowed for sectarian prayer before government bodies, as long as the prayer is inclusive.
And democratic representative Liz Bennett of Cedar Rapids, who invited Maynard to give the blessing, said inclusion is her goal.
“I think there are people across the nation who don’t realize how diverse Iowa really is, and so I’m proud that this is another first for us,” Bennett said.
Maynard said Wicca has a bad reputation as a religion as many may associate it with witchcraft. But she stressed not all Wiccans identify as witches, and not all witches follow Wiccan beliefs.
“It’s not about endorsing one religion over another,” Bennett said. “It’s the fact that the Iowa Statehouse is the people’s house and that there’s room for everybody under the dome.”
“The fact that it’s the first in the nation, I think it’s worth it,” she said.
Watch courtesy of KCCI:
Oh, the backlash should be fun to watch. A Wiccan is giving a blessing to a House full of Bible beaters.
It didn’t go over too well in Alabama. A local Wiccan was to give the invocation at the city council but was uninvited due to community fears.
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