I get why some people question having invocations at the beginning of meetings of the Wichita City Council and Sedgwick County Commission. A faith-based prayer at a governmental meeting seems out of place.
But invocations are not requirements for prayer. Those in attendance are asked, not required, to stand. Participation is voluntary, just like the pledge of allegiance.
Invocations are meant to offer a positive message, to get things off to a good start — possibly before figurative gloves come off during the meeting. Much like the Daily Prayer on our Opinion pages (admittedly minus the governmental aspect), they can be taken as literally as prayer or as simply as encouraging words.
So if we can get to the point where we’re OK with invocations, some guidelines (like the city and country already have) should be in place:
▪ A maximum of 90 seconds. Much like the national anthem at a ballgame, if you can’t get it done in a minute and a half, you’re long-winded.
▪ Christian invocations will be more common, but other religions representing all Wichitans should be invited to participate.
▪ Athiest and agnostic leaders should be invited. They, too, represent a segment of the city’s residents.