New Carlisle council votes to add prayer back into meetings

New Carlisle City Council voted to add the prayer invocation back to the agenda for meetings. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
New Carlisle City Council voted to add the prayer invocation back to the agenda for meetings. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

New Carlisle City Council has restored the prayer as item on the meeting agenda after voting last month to list a moment of silence instead.

“I want to put the prayer back into our meetings because I feel that’s one thing the citizens of New Carlisle wanted and secondly, I feel it is a right,” Councilmember Amy Hopkins said during the meeting this week. “I know people are interested in separating religion and government, but I think it’s so that government doesn’t dictate what religion you do. It’s not that you have to take religion out of everything.”

RELATED: New Carlisle council changes meeting prayer to moment of silence

Council voted to “change the rules of council to add the invocation back on the agenda within the work session and regular meetings” by a vote of 4-3.

“I don’t have a problem with it being voted back in,” said Mayor Mike Lowry. “It doesn’t bother me one way or another. At the end of the day, we’re there for more important reasons.”

Councilmember Peggy Eggleston said the prayer should represent all citizens.

“I still believe we should have a moment of silence or reflection, but council is based on a majority and I respect that,” she said. “It is not only a matter of separation of church and state but representing all the citizens of New Carlisle, not all citizens in New Carlisle are of the Christian faith.”

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Lowry said more significant things happened at the last meeting that were overshadowed by the prayer.

“Mr. Bridge, the city manager, made an amazing report that the city’s looking at $1.135 million in our general fund,” he said. “I think that should have overshadowed anything in that meeting, including religion. I’m not saying it’s not important to individuals, I’m sure it is, but that should have been the number one topic.”

Lowry added that the prayer didn’t get removed, it just became a moment of silence instead.

“The prayer didn’t get removed. A verbal prayer got taken away, but the prayer’s still there. You just aren’t going to be doing it verbally with all of council,” he said. “It just bothered me that the general fund announcement was overshadowed because that was such an accomplishment by so many of you.”