This week's Grand Junction City Council meeting will reportedly feature a satanic invocation.

No doubt, plenty of religious feathers will be ruffled when a satanic invocation is offered Wednesday evening prior to this week's city council meeting.

It has been a long-standing tradition in this country that prayers to God are offered at government meetings, political gatherings, prayer vigils, weddings, funerals, sporting events church services, in hospital rooms, and countless other places and events. It's not unusual or out of line, and for more than 200 years in the United States, it has largely been considered a non-offensive gesture.

In recent years, however, the spirit of political correctness has permeated our society to such an extreme that there no longer seems to be black and white issues -- only gray matter. Anyone proclaiming rightness or wrongness, whether it's on religious grounds or not, is labeled an extremist, a racist, a bigot, or a hater.

We have had legal cases that in the name of separation of church and state, prayers have been banned at public school events. There are even schools which prohibit the singing of traditional Christmas carols in school music programs if they mention the word "Christmas" or touch on the subject of the birth of Jesus.

So, now we have a movement that says if you are going to allow a prayer to God before a governmental proceeding, it's only fair and right that you allow other religions to participate - even if that means offering prayer to a deity or non-deity other than the one that is mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance, the fourth stanza of the Star Spangled Banner, and well-known and oft-sung patriotic songs such as "God Bless America" and "American the Beautiful."

While the banning of Christmas carols seems ridiculous to me, I would have to say I understand the thinking of those who don't believe in God who would like to have the same right to express their non-belief or their contrary belief in a like setting -- such as a city council meeting. In the spirit of the principles this nation was founded on, I believe these people do have a right to believe differently and to express an opposing view, even if the majority of people may disagree. This is one area where the majority doesn't rule.

In the case of the Grand Junction City Council,  a policy has been in place since 2008 governing the issue of invocations. The resolution reads in part:

" to ensure reasonable objectivity in the selection of invocation speakers the City Council shall on an annual basis direct the City Clerk to compile a list of all known, established congregations and spiritual assemblies located in the community by reference to local telephone book(s), the internet or similar sources or both in the sole discretion of the City Clerk and to advertise in a newspaper of general circulation in the City that the list is being compiled and that interested spiritual leaders may contact the City Clerk to be included on the list "- Resolution 114-08

To have a satanic invocation at the Grand Junction City Council meeting is certainly well within the bounds of the law and city policy. However, there is likely to be strong opinions about the appropriateness of this action. In fact, as is the case with most religious issues, there are strong opinions on both sides of this.

I would be regretful if I did not state publicly that I am somewhat disturbed by the idea of a satanic invocation - even though I don't actually know what that entails. It may or may not be a prayer, and it may or may not be directed toward a specific being. However, it is something that rubs against my core values, which include a deep-seated belief in God.

But, my belief is that God gave us each a free will - to believe or not to believe. Nobody can ever be forced to believe a certain way, nor should they be. If we start repressing religious views that are contrary to our own, where does it end? Christians and non-Christians alike share the exact same unalienable rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.

Personally, I would rather the Grand Junction City Council allow invocations of different faiths than to simply ban them altogether because no matter what they do, there is going to be a segment of the population that will disagree and be offended. After all, this is America - the land of the free, the home of the brave, with liberty and justice for all- even if we disagree.

What do you think the city council should do? Should invocations be all inclusive? Should they just be eliminated altogether?

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