(So Do Hundreds of Christians)
By Ray Olinger
An invitation from the Titusville City council to a self-proclaimed witch, Jacque Zaleski, to open their meeting with an invocation drew over 300 people. Zaleski traveled from Palm Bay to open the council meeting.
Wearing a minister’s clerical collar, she began with an autobiography of herself and with prayers to God, our Father, and to our “Holy Mother.” Zaleski told the council she was raised as a Roman Catholic, but she didn’t explain that “Holy Mother” meant some sort of goddess.
The council chambers were jammed to over capacity. Another 100 people had to watch the proceedings on television in the lobby. During the prayer, about 75 people rose in their seats and turned to face the back of the room to show they would not join in the prayers of a witch. Immediately following Zaleski’s prayer, Jerry Maynard, a member of Temple Baptist Church, rose from his seat and began praying the Lord’s Prayer. Several hundred people, the vast majority of the crowd, slowly rose and joined him. After the prayer, Maynard thanked the council.
After preliminary business, Larry Linkus, a local radio show host and pastor in Brevard County, spoke to the City Council. In answer to criticism that the Church is too proactive, he stated it is reactive to things that are directed against it. He said that “wherever we Christians are, whether in church, at the beach, in the City Council chambers, there is the Church. We can’t come in here and not be the Church. We are a friend to this community and we are interested in the welfare of this community.”
Linkus asked the City Council to pass an ordinance to restrict those giving an invocation to persons who live within the city limits. Councilman Larry Bartley made the motion and after discussion it passed 4 to 1, with Councilwoman Ilene Davis voting no. In a verbal exchange with Pastor Linkus, Davis argued that anyone owning property in Titusville ought to be allowed to conduct an invocation. Davis later stated she would not seek reelection.
Florida Today, which claims to take an unbiased stance on news stories, has repeatedly characterized the opposition of a witch’s prayer at the Titusville City Council meeting as intolerant, unruly and rude. What do you think? Should Christians voice their opposition to witchcraft in the civil arena?