LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Religion is well represented in Lubbock. The joke that you can stand on any street corner and see a church may not be 100 percent true, but you can stand in the parking lot of Lubbock City Hall and see churches from three different denominations.
Spirituality was on the top of everyone’s mind in the city’s council chambers as the invocation for Thursday night’s meeting was given by Tracey Benefield of the atheist community of Lubbock.
Despite not being addressed to a deity, the invocation was heard loud and clear by its intended audience.
Benefield asked the council and assembled crowd to not bow their heads, instead imploring them to “keep them raised and look around to your neighbors.”
Her call was for the residents of Lubbock to share the city with people of all faiths and backgrounds with civility, something she said Lubbock does very well. “No matter what our differences, Lubbockites have an ability to come together and treat each other with respect and dignity.”
She gave examples of how residents are always willing to prove Lubbock is as friendly as billboards may say. “This city’s strength is in its ability to come together, this is what it means to be from Lubbock. We find a way to connect, no matter what the barriers placed before us.”
Benefield’s message was one of acceptance, especially for members of the community who do not define themselves as religious. She closed her invocation by thanking the council and community for allowing her to speak.
Following her speech, Mayor Dan Pope quickly quelled rumors of a suggested ‘second’ invocation during Citizen Comments by reminding residents council rules allowed for comments only on agenda items. ““We’ve had our invocation for tonight, we’re not going to have another invocation.” Pope said before moving on.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF BENEFIELD’S INVOCATION: