Deborah Maynard will be the First Wiccan to give Invocation at Iowa House of Representatives

Deborah Maynard Wicca

A Wiccan Priestess, Deborah Maynard, will deliver the invocation at an Iowa state legislature meeting early this month, but the decision has been met with some pushback.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Representative Liz Bennett said that she had invited Deborah Maynard, a Wiccan from her district, Linn County, to perform an invocation at the Iowa House of Representatives next week. It’s believed this will be the first time this has ever happened for a state legislature.

The Wiccan belief is characterized by pagan beliefs and incorporates worship of the Earthly Gods. The invitation has caused some backlash in the state for choosing Deborah Maynard to perform the invocation.

Deborah Maynard was asked to appear when Bennett was looking for different people to speak before the lawmakers. She told KCCI that the idea “came about because of one of her constituents.” She added that “it’s not a legislature’s job to endorse one religion over another, but it’s a legislature’s job to be inclusive,” which is what she is attempting to do.

Last year, a Wiccan priest named Blake Kirk was invited to pray before a city council meeting in Alabama. Bennett has been rather surprised by the whole flurry of media that has arisen in response to the invitation. “We do have a prayer every day in front of the body and different representatives invite different constituents from their districts, different types of pastors from dominations. So, I am a little bit surprised that it has become as controversial as this,” she told KCCI.

Deborah Maynard Wiccan

According to statements in the Huffington Post, many staff members and legislators are torn about the invitation. Bennett said that “any time there’s something a little bit different, there can be people who have some concerns.” She often meets with them to reassure them that the invocation will be “very inclusive”.

Others have made their concerns known to Chuck Hurley, the Vice President for The Family Leader, a Christian group. He says that Bennett can invite whoever she wants for the invocation or prayer, however “no one should be forced to participate in any religious exercise against their conscience.” Republican Representative, Walk Rogers of Clear Falls, is a Christian, but he “supports Bennett’s choice to invite Maynard.” He adds that he believes “people are trying to evaluate what they feel and think about it. I plan on it being like any other day.”


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