An Iowa City Councillor Is Furious That an Atheist Will Deliver an Invocation June 30, 2017

An Iowa City Councillor Is Furious That an Atheist Will Deliver an Invocation

Atheist activist Justin Scott just received a green light from the city council in Oskaloosa to deliver an invocation next week. It’ll be the first one delivered by a non-religious person in that city, and it’s about damn time.

“We plan on respecting the institution of the city government there; we definitely appreciate the opportunity,” Scott said. “The city of Oskaloosa has been nothing but totally generous and welcoming to allow us to come down and do that.”

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock confirmed the item is on the agenda for the July 6 meeting.

“We generally invite people on a scheduled basis to provide that invocation, and [the Eastern Iowa Atheists] called and asked to be part of that,” Schrock said. “We’ve obliged and said sure, they can. And that’s the extent of it.

That’s it. It’s just that simple.

But one member of the city council, Aaron Ver Steeg, isn’t happy with the news. According to a screenshot of a Facebook post provided to this site, Ver Steeg is encouraging people to remain seated as Justin speaks.


I just found out that our City Manager has allowed an out of town Atheist to do the invocation at our next Council Meeting which due to the Holiday will be on Thursday July 6th. I’m so ticked off about this and ask if you attend and are not an Atheist that you do not stand when he does the invocation.

To be sure, no one cares who stands and who sits. The important thing is that an atheist is allowed the same opportunity to speak as everyone else. But it’s a little funny to see how worked up Ver Steeg is getting someone who (presumably) doesn’t share his faith saying a few words before a meeting.

It’s not the first time he’s lashed out against someone who opposes Christian privilege. In 2012, when a citizen complained about a Nativity scene outside a local courthouse, Ver Steeg left her a voicemail saying she should “look the other way” or “move out of Oskaloosa.”

He seems pleasant…

No matter. Justin’s going to speak anyway, and his invocation will surely be inclusive of everybody just as his previous ones have been.

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