I have been to an Ames city council meeting and they did not start with a prayer of any kind so I’m not sure this situation would even happen but if the Ames city council was approached by someone like atheist Justin Scott, I would hope they would handle it well.
I would advise the city council to hear out the challenger and truly listen to them. It’s like what Justin said: “the minority viewpoint is just as important as the majority”. I liked Justin’s solution of having a rotating prayer/opening from different religious denominations/atheists to make sure all groups are represented and heard. But even more than that, I really don’t see a place for religion at a city council meeting. Why is this even an issue? I agree with Justin when he talked about maintaining the separation of Church and State. There is no reason for a prayer of any kind at a city council meeting. Just start the meeting and accomplish what was set out to be accomplished.
I think that it’s easy to fall into this kind of trap like Justin noted: “although it’s common to think that we are a Christian nation, that this is a Christian town, it’s not”, meaning that there are other people with other beliefs that need to be heard. My Christian faith is something that is very important to me but I would never try to sway someone or force it upon someone and I see absolutely no need for a religious prayer of any kind at a city council meeting. I think that the point of all of this was well put by Justin: that “religious freedom for believers is just as important as it is for the right to not believe”.