A somber atmosphere was the prevalent theme at Tuesday’s City Council meeting when item 11 on the evening’s agenda called for a moment of respectful silence. The unopposed movement to remember the victims of this month’s terrorist attacks was a sentimental pause in a meeting that strove to go on with the business of the city and its people.
The city’s official statement concerning the tragedy, however, was not universally popular.
Ald. Brenda Konkel, District 2, said she wanted to ensure that the city’s statement was in sync with its residents’ views. She raised issue with the inclusion of the excerpt “thoughts and prayers” in the statement and brought forth the notion that prayers may not be relevant to the city’s intentions.
“I just have a strong belief in the separation of church and state, and I feel that this is city-imposed prayer,” Konkel said.
Konkel’s movement was opposed by others in the council who felt that the inclusion of ‘prayers’ was necessary in representing the Madison’s entire population.
“I don’t see that there’s a conflict between church and state,” said Ald. Jean Maccubbin, District 11. “All I see is that there are those of us in the city [who agree], and not discriminating against anyone. I think that this is correct and appropriate and should remain in the resolution.”
The item reached resolution when a substitute motion was passed, which changed the statement to read “thoughts and sympathies” instead of “thoughts and prayers.”
A movement regarding the Private Study Peace Park was referred to the Parks Commission for further inspection.