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Fairbanks Assembly to consider eliminating meeting invocations

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: March 20, 2017
  • Published March 20, 2017

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly will consider getting rid of  invocations before its meetings.

An ordinance that will be introduced at Thursday's Assembly meeting says, "Observing the strict separation between church and state while conducting borough business will offend no one and include all citizens, regardless of their beliefs."

The consideration comes as a debate over the same issue has culminated in two lawsuits against the Kenai Peninsula Borough. There, the question of whether to get rid of opening invocations or restrict who can give them has also led to months of debate.

In Fairbanks, Assembly member Shaun Tacke said that the situation in Kenai was one reason for drafting the ordinance in his borough.

"What brought it about was seeing the troubles with the (Kenai) Peninsula Borough and their pitfalls they were stepping in," Tacke said in a text message.

He said that a constituent "mentioned their dismay with any invocation and discussed the ideas of separation of church and state," and that made him want to bring the issue up formally with the Assembly.

Assembly members Andrew Gray and Christopher Quist drafted the ordinance with Tacke.

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