Borough accepting invocation applications

Residents approved to provide invocations will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly hold a religious invocation during the Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, assembly meeting in Soldotna. The invocation was held only hours after the Alaska Superior Court ruled the ritual violated the Alaska Constitution. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly hold a religious invocation during the Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, assembly meeting in Soldotna. The invocation was held only hours after the Alaska Superior Court ruled the ritual violated the Alaska Constitution. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Applications to offer invocations during Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meetings are now open on the borough’s website.

Any Kenai Peninsula Borough resident can sign up to provide an invocation, which is described on the borough’s website as a short prayer or a solemnizing message offered at the beginning of each assembly meeting for the benefit of the assembly, accommodating for the spiritual needs of the public officials.

Any person wishing to provide an invocation must submit a dated, written request to the clerk’s office. Residents approved to provide invocations will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Each resident may only ask to provide one invocation at a time, and no one will be schedule to offer an invocation at consecutive assembly meetings, or at more than four assembly meetings in any calendar year.

The assembly requests by the language of its policy that no invocation should proselytize or advance any faith, or disparage the religious faith or non-religious views of others, the borough’s website said.

For the remainder of 2019, four more assembly meetings are scheduled. Angela Roland will be providing an invocation Oct. 8. George R. Holly Jr. will provide an invocation Oct. 22. Assembly member Willy Dunne will provide an invocation at the Nov. 5 borough assembly meeting. On Dec. 3, Tom Anthony will provide the assembly meeting invocation.

The borough’s invocation policy has sparked yearslong controversy.

Last October, the borough lost a lawsuit against plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska in a fight over its invocation policy, which allowed certain groups and individuals to offer an invocation at the beginning of each meeting. The plaintiffs, Lance Hunt, an atheist, Iris Fontana, a member of the Satanic Temple, and Elise Boyer, a member of the Jewish community in Homer, all applied to give invocations after the policy was established in 2016. All three were denied because they didn’t belong to official organizations with an established presence on the peninsula. They sued and the ACLU Alaska agreed to represent them.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson ruled the invocation policy violated the Alaska Constitution’s establishment clause, which is a mandate banning government from establishing an official religion or the favoring of one belief over another. Article 1, Section 4 of the constitution provides that “no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion.”

Last November, the assembly voted against appealing the Superior Court decision and passed an updated invocation policy allowing more people the ability to give invocations at assembly meetings.

More in News

A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through a race during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Kenai Peninsula Fair canceled this year

Cotton candy, carnival rides and racing pigs will have to wait for… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
State reports new 30 new cases; hospitalizations reach new high

The cases include 28 residents and two nonresidents.

photos by Megan Pacer / Homer News 
                                A youth rider takes a turn riding a bull calf during the 60th annual Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik. The rodeo lasted throughout the July Fourth holiday and celebrated a return to the event’s roots.
Riding high in Ninilchik

Ninilchik Rodeo celebrates 60 years with events new and old.

A closed sign is posted at a retail store shuttered due to the new coronavirus, in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to vote on relief funds for businesses, nonprofits

CARES Relief and Recovery Grant funds would be rolled out in two phases.

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
Case count dips after 5 record days of positive cases

Alaska has had 1,338 cases of the disease since the state began tracking the pandemic in March.

An adult, female bald eagle was rescued from a tree Saturday in Juneau. The eagle was taken to Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. (Courtesy Photo | Kerry Howard)
Juneau bald eagle rescued on Fourth of July

Injured but conscious, the raptor will get treatment in Sitka.

Robin Richardson, right, and her coworker Ellen Paffie from Georgia get ready for the night shift at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York on May 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy Robin Richardson)
Soldotna nurse joins COVID-19 fight at New York hospital

Richardson cared for 53 critically ill COVID-19 patients. Only two of those patients lived.

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
COVID-19 week in review: Case count jumps; new hospitalizations, deaths reported

The current average positivity rate for all tests conducted is 1.39%.

‘Crowning jewel’

Iron Mike statue unveiled at Soldotna Creek Park

Most Read