Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oconee County Council cancels “Wheel of Faith” prayer format

Below left: the Wheel of Faith. Below right: Councilman Scooter
Riley holds the album from which he culled the Rasta invocation.
Rasta ceremony sets emotions, marijuana ablaze

B & P News – Walhalla

Oconee County Council voted to reconsider its recently adopted “Wheel of Faith” prayer format following a Rastafarian invocation by Councilman Scooter Riley on Thursday.

“Last week we decided the ‘Wheel of Faith’ would be a good way to represent the various spiritual doctrines of Oconee and the world,” said fellow council member Chester LaGroot. “We’re not so sure anymore.”

The wheel was crafted in response to recent court rulings that prohibited the promotion of a specific religious preference during council prayers. Constructed by the council with the cooperation of the ACLU, the wheel was spun on Monday to give a councilman time to learn about the religion and prepare an invocation.

“I listened to a lot of Bob Marley in college, so I figured I’d better take this one” said Riley. “Plus, I didn’t want to get stuck with Scientology whenever it came around.”

“All praise be to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I,” began the prayer. “King of kings, Conquering Lion of Judah.” Riley then paused to light a marijuana cigarette and play the bongos while singing ‘Jammin'’, according to the official minutes of the meeting. He closed the prayer by shouting, “I and I, Jah live!” at which time Riley was asked by fellow council members to extinguish the cigarette.

“Scooter did a good job trying to deliver a legitimate Rastafarian prayer,” said Councilwoman Jolene Loudermilk. “I think he just took it a little too far with the reefer and the reggae.”

Oconee County Council voted 6-1 to dismantle the wheel, and also approved a proposal by Riley to install vending machines in county offices.

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