Atheist Community of Lubbock gives invocation at city council

Atheist Community of Lubbock gives invocation at city council

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Lubbock City Council started off the year with an ideological controversy. 

"We'll open our meeting tonight with an invocation by Tracey Benefield of the Atheists Community of Lubbock," said Mayor Dan Pope during the meeting.

Benefield, who spoke on behalf of the atheists, said she was not trying to summon demons.

"No we're not trying to open a pit in the middle of Lubbock or anything like that, we're not trying to convert anybody," she said.

Benefield said the secular group is simply expressing its constitutional rights.

"Our invocation will be focused on coming together as a community, on making sure we listen to everybody's points of view and that we're really not any different than anybody else and that we need to find that unity."

Traditionally the invocation comes in the form of a prayer. This break has Mikel Ward worried it will open the door for other "controversial" groups to deliver an invocation.

"They're saying that city council can allow for but it's not mandated that they even have an invocation or a prayer and that's what's worrying me is that we're likely to have enough controversy by different groups coming in and wanting to speak that aren't the traditional, normal Christian churches speaking that they may just decide not to have one," Ward said.

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said the group had every right to speak.

"I thought her comments were completely appropriate," Pope said.

The speech went off without a hitch. There was no fire and brimstone from the gallery.

"The atmosphere was a lot more positive than I was anticipating so I am very happy with how it went," Benefield said. 

Afterward council went back to business as usual. 

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