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Siouxland Freethinkers President reading opening greeting at Sioux Falls City Council

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Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided it's constitutional to read a prayer before City Council, but they say it has to be open to everyone.

Tomorrow, Sioux Falls City Council will open it's meeting by having an atheist read the invocation.

"I think it's really important for all citizens to be heard in government, so I'm excited on that front," said President of the Sioux Land Freethinkers Amanda Novotny.

For the first time a member of the organization will be reading the invocation at the Sioux Falls City Council meeting.

"It's going to be really positive, it's going to be really inclusive. I don't want anyone to feel left out because everyone is there and everyone is a part of their city and their government," Novotny added.

She decided to do the reading after a Supreme Court decision saying you can have a prayer before a meeting, but it has to be open to everyone.

"Based on that ruling then a Secular, Humanist invocation would be totally acceptable and since that's what we're working with I called and got on the schedule," she explained.

Reading the invocation is open to anyone who wants it.

"It was a really easy process. I just called them, I asked how one does it, she said everyone who does it is a volunteer and it was just a matter of scheduling," she said.

"We do represent everybody in the city of Sioux Falls. Individuals come from varying backgrounds with varying beliefs," said Sioux

Falls City Council Member Rick Kiley.

Which is why he believes it's important for everyone in the community to feel heard.

"We would like everyone to feel that they are a part of city government and this is one way of doing that," said Kiley.

Novotny knows there have been plenty of invocations that have not been religious, but thinks this is a bigger deal because she is an atheist.

The list of people reading the opening invocation is full for this year.

But to get on the list next year, all you need to do is call the city council and sign up.

And like Novotny said, it's mainly based on scheduling.

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