WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – Church Street in Weatherford comes to a dead end at City Hall. Tuesday, though, city leaders opened a path for prayer to make its way back into politics.
Weatherford’s City Council voted four to one Tuesday to bring an invocation back to City Council meetings. It also reinstated the Pledge of Allegiance to both the United States and Texas flags. The move ended what city leaders said was 37 years without either practice.
The Parker County Ministerial Alliance asked for the move last month. There was some discussion in a work session last week of adding at least a moment of silence. Scott Wilson from All Saints Episcopal Church told the council they didn’t go far enough.
“We urge you not to falter under the tyranny or the bullying of a small minority whose thoughts are so different from the majority of us,” Wilson said during public comment.
Mayor Dennis Hooks said the desire to be fair to all residents is why he was undecided until minutes before the vote. Resident Bobbie Narramore said it was exclusionary to those who don’t identify with a particular faith.
“I am against an invocation,” Narramore said. “I am for the separation of the church and state.”
The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the city urging it to avoid constitutional concerns. The possibility of a costly lawsuit was what caused Mayor Pro-Tem Waymon Hamilton to be the only vote against the motion.
“It’s always a possibility,” he said when asked about the realistic possibility of a lawsuit. “And win lose or draw, the only one that wins is the lawyers.”
Several other cities including Dallas and Fort Worth have both an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance before city meetings.