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INVOCATIONS: Time for change

| June 17, 2022 1:00 AM

Responding to Sarah Bailey’s letter to the editor of June 12, I am the individual whose letter was read at the start of the Coeur d’Alene City Council Meeting’s public comment period on June 7. Ms. Bailey appears to accuse me of character assassination — defined as the malicious and unjustified harming of a person’s good reputation. In fact, it is Mr. Paul Van Noy’s own words and actions that pose the greatest threat to his reputation.

Via the Kootenai County Ministerial Association, Mr. Van Noy has effectively controlled the invocations for nearly 20 years. That association’s legitimacy is dubious. It does not represent the religious interests of the county at large — instead, serving to advance the religious beliefs of a minority. Evidence suggests the invocation process has long been restrictive/exclusionary in nature. Mr. Van Noy himself validated that by offering to purposely discriminate against individuals/organizations that do not meet his standards of Christian propriety. Note his statement that it would be necessary to examine the doctrines of the Mormon and Roman Catholic churches prior to allowing their participation in the invocation process. I question his qualifications to conduct such an examination. Further, his demeanor before the council demonstrated an unsettling degree of pleasure at the thought of being allowed to manage the process in a discriminatory manner.

While Mr. Van Noy’s notions of Christian behavior clearly differ from mine, I welcome his participation in performing invocations should he submit a request to do so pursuant to the new process being established by the city.

MIKE HENGGELER

Coeur d’Alene

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