An Iowa woman will make history next month by being the first Wiccan in the nation to give the opening invocation at a state legislature.
Although Christian pastors and priests normally give the invocation, Deborah Maynard of the People’s Church Unitarian Universalist told KCRG that Democratic state Rep. Liz Bennett asked her to open the Iowan House of Representatives with a Wiccan prayer on April 9.
“I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal, until I did more research on it,” Maynard explained to KCRG. “The more research I did on it, that’s when I found that it’s never been done in a state government body before by a Wiccan.”
“I think there are people across the nation who don’t realize how diverse Iowa really is, and so I’m proud that this is another first for us,” she added. “It’s not about endorsing one religion over another… It’s the fact that the Iowa Statehouse is the people’s house and that there’s room for everybody under the dome.”
Democratic state Rep. Dan Kelley worried that the invocation would be a distraction.
“We have lots to do at the Iowa House, and we can’t get distracted by unnecessary controversy,” he explained to KCCI.
KCCI’s Kim St. Onge reported that a local Catholic priest said that he had “no problem with a Wiccan giving the invocation as long as she offers the prayer to God.”
Watch the video below from KCRG, broadcast March 30, 2015.